When a tooth is extracted, a blood clot typically forms during the healing process. This happens naturally in order to protect the exposed bone and nerve.
The clot creates a protective layer that defends the underlying bone and nerve endings until the wound heals. It also creates the groundwork for the development of new bone and soft tissue.
If a tooth is removed and the area doesn’t create a protective blood clot, or the clot is dislodged, it causes what is called a dry socket – medically known as alveolar osteitis. But when this happens, the bone and nerve are left exposed and unprotected, resulting in strong pain in the socket and along that side of the face.
Dry socket can occur when any tooth is extracted, and it is the most common complication after a tooth extraction. This occurs especially after the removal of third molars (wisdom teeth). Patients who have received an extraction should watch for dry socket development, as it can be irritated by eating, drinking, and insufficient oral care.
Dry Socket Signs and Symptoms
While extractions are not pleasant experiences, the resulting pain should be minimal when controlled by medication. If the patient experiences dry socket after a tooth is extracted, some common symptoms include severe pain in the first few days following the extraction.
Pain may be felt in the extraction site as well as in the eye, ear, neck, or temple. You may also notice total or partial loss of a blood clot at the socket, visible bone in the socket, an unpleasant taste, bad breath, or foul odor coming from your mouth.
How to Prevent Dry Socket
To prevent dry socket, be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions after a tooth extraction, including any rinses that they recommended. Always brush and floss daily, practice good oral hygiene, and avoid drinking from a straw.
Also, avoid smoking or using tobacco products until you’ve fully healed, because you’re particularly susceptible to infection during the healing process. Don’t hesitate to contact your dentist if you experience any pain or notice anything that seems unusual.
How Dry Socket Is Treated
If you do develop dry socket, your dentist will help to reduce the pain and promote healing. The dentist may prescribe pain relievers and may flush out the area of debris such as food particles.
To help the healing process, it’s vitally important to practice good oral care as recommended by your dentist. The dentist may provide plastic syringes with curved tips so you can clean your dry socket.
Having a tooth extracted isn’t fun, but not taking adequate care afterwards can make the situation worse rather than help it heal. Dry socket development and healing time can vary from patient to patient.
After a tooth extraction, be sure to schedule a follow-up dental appointment to monitor your dental health and to ensure your extraction is healing properly.
Skilled Dentist in Henderson, Nevada
If you have developed dry socket after a tooth extraction, be sure to meet with the caring and expert staff at Dedicated Dental. Patients in the Las Vegas area trust the team at Dedicated Dental to care for their oral health. We treat patients from age 4 and up in Henderson, Nevada.
Don’t you deserve exceptional dental care? For an appointment, call us today at (702) 566-5509 to speak with a member of our friendly office staff, or fill out our convenient online contact form. Our team is ready to see you!