Dry socket is a condition which occurs after extraction, when the healing process is disturbed. This is one of the most painful conditions. After a tooth extraction procedure, the first step of recovery is the formation of a blood clot at the extraction site. This clot then initializes further healing and completely closes the wound.
However, at times, this clot may get dislodged due to which the socket does not heal. The gums recede, revealing raw white bone which is excruciatingly painful. Air, food, fluid, and other things that enter the mouth makes the bone vulnerable to infection and severe pain.
Steps to Take Before the Extraction
- If you happen to take oral contraceptives, then it is best to try to avoid taking the medication just before the extraction. This is because estrogen tends to decrease the wound healing capacity of the socket. Another way of circumventing this issue is by getting the extraction done in the last week of your menstrual cycle, provided it does not need to be done on an emergency basis.
- Cessation of smoking for at least 24 to 48 hours before an extraction helps greatly to prevent its occurrence. Smoking impedes the normal healing process of tooth extraction, thus increasing the chances of suffering from a dry socket after extraction. Any form of tobacco, smoking or smokeless, increases the risk.
- If you are taking steroids, anti-hypertensive medication, or medication for diabetes, then consult your physician before going in for an extraction. This is because some of these drugs may interfere with blood clotting, like if a person is on low dose aspirin.
Steps to Take Post Extraction
- Immediately after the extraction, a cotton gauze pack is placed in the socket. This helps to prevent contamination of the wound and also helps in formation of the clot.
- Do not drink with a straw after an extraction. The sucking activity of the straw leads to negative pressure developing in the oral cavity, which increases the chances of clot dislodgement.
- If you have been prescribed antibiotics, then start taking them immediately with the first meal after the extraction. This will help prevent any infection which could hamper wound healing.
- Do not eat hot or spicy food immediately after an extraction as this may lead to dilation of the blood vessels, which could further impede the blood clot formation.
- Do not smoke and drink alcohol at all after a tooth extraction. Smoking contaminates the extraction site which further impedes the attempts to prevent dry socket from occurring.
- Gently brush the adjoining areas after the extraction. Do not brush your teeth vigorously afterwards as the force of brushing may dislodge the blood clot.
- Do not rinse your mouth vigorously as this also may dislodge the blood clot.
- Eat food which will not tend to get stuck at the extraction site in order to avoid contamination. Instead, try to eat only soft food which does not require excess chewing.
- If you do see any symptoms developing, then be sure to visit your dentist at the earliest as this is an emergency condition.
These were some measures that can be taken to prevent dry socket from occurring. If you follow the post-extraction instruction religiously, then you don't need to worry about the occurrence of dry socket.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.