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How to Avoid Dry Sockets

In a perfect world, your natural teeth would last a lifetime. Unfortunately, more often than not they don’t. Close to 180 million American adults are missing at least one tooth, and about 40 million are missing all of their natural teeth. 

Dental decay, tooth impaction, and dental injury are just a few reasons your dentist may recommend tooth extraction. Here at Full Circle Dental Care in Del City, Oklahoma, Samuel Sigmon, DDS, takes every precaution when performing tooth extraction surgery. A dry socket occurs if the clot that forms following a tooth extraction dislodges, which can cause pain and compromise healing. 

In this blog we discuss how dry socket develops after a routine tooth extraction and the steps you can take to prevent this from occurring.

How does dry socket develop?

When a dentist extracts a tooth, the empty socket forms a protective blood clot over the underlying bone and nerves. The clot must stay in place for proper healing.

Dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to develop at the site of an extraction, or a clot forms and later dislodges before the socket has healed. Excruciating pain can occur and may worsen if food debris becomes trapped in the socket and causes inflammation. 

Preventing dry socket

Rest assured that Dr. Sigmon and the team at Full Circle Dental Care take the utmost care to promote optimal healing following a tooth extraction. This may include applying an antibacterial gel before the procedure and applying an antiseptic solution to the open socket.  

While these measures set the stage for a smooth recovery, proper self-care in the days following surgery is even more important. Take these steps to support healing. 

Be gentle with oral hygiene

It’s important to treat the extraction site carefully. You should avoid rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours after surgery. After the first 24 hours, Dr. Sigmon may instruct you to gently rinse your mouth using a salt-water mouthwash. And, when Dr. Sigmon says it’s OK to brush and floss, you should use gentle pressure when you’re near the area.

Stick to soft foods 

Yogurt, applesauce, soup and other soft foods are a good idea for the day of your tooth extraction. Take care to avoid extremely hot or very cold liquids. 

Steer clear of hard, sticky, chewy foods, such as popcorn and candy, and avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages for a few days. Additionally, avoid drinking through a straw as the sucking action could dislodge the blood clot from the socket.

Avoid tobacco use

Tobacco is harmful not only to your overall health, but it also interferes with the body’s natural healing process and boosts the risk of complications, such as dry socket. In fact, tobacco use is a leading cause of dry socket following a routine tooth extraction. 

What to do if you have signs of dry socket

Following recommended self-care measures after tooth extraction surgery goes a long way toward a smooth recovery, but sometimes a dry socket can develop despite your best efforts.

Look out for intense pain that begins within the first three days after your tooth extraction, because it may signal a dry socket. If you experience intense pain after an extraction, schedule an emergency visit with Dr. Sigmon right away. 

Dry socket won’t resolve on its own. It requires expert care and a careful treatment approach to relieve the pain and get the healing process back on track.  

For more information about self-care following a tooth extraction or to get treatment for any of your dental needs, book an appointment online or over the phone with Full Circle Dental Care today.

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