How to Avoid Dry Socket After Tooth Removal

Tooth extraction is one of the dental procedures that is given as a last resort, and it’s usually performed if your tooth is so infected or decayed that it’s beyond repair. Tooth extractions are needed if you have had trauma from an injury or extensive decay, and your tooth is too damaged to be saved. 

In other cases, tooth extraction is needed for orthodontic purposes, for patients who have teeth too big to properly align. In such cases, one or more teeth are removed to make space for the others. 

After tooth extraction, the dentist might perform some sutures with self-dissolving thread to keep the gum edges from loosening, but usually, the extraction site is left to heal on its own, and a gauge is placed on top of the hole to stop the bleeding. 

What Is a Dry Socket?

After tooth removal, a blood clot forms over the socket. This clot will protect the area and allow it to heal, safe from bacteria and irritants that might lead to complications. If the blood clot loosens up and is removed from the socket, it causes a painful complication called a dry socket. 

If this happens, it’s very important to be seen by your dentist right away, so that a bandage is placed on the socket, allowing a new blood clot to form. 

What Can Cause a Dry Socket?

A dry socket is mostly caused by mechanical force applied to the area. Actions that might lead to a dry socket include:

  • Vigorous brushing over the blood clot: you should avoid going over the extraction site when cleaning your mouth, for at least a few days after the procedure;
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol: smoking and alcohol increase your blood pressure and might cause the clot to loosen up. Smoking is also irritant for your gums and makes them more prone to infections;
  • Suction: rinsing your mouth with water, or drinking from a straw create a vacuum in your mouth and can lead to a dry socket.

How to Avoid Dry Socket After Tooth Removal

After tooth extraction, you should follow the aftercare instructions. Only brush with soft bristle brushes and don’t touch the extraction site until it heals. If you notice bleeding, apply a sterile gauze and gentle pressure over the site. Rinse your mouth gently with a saltwater solution and avoid irritants like smoking, alcohol, or certain foods. Avoid intense physical effort for a few days after the extraction. 

Book an Appointment Today!

If you need a tooth extraction or you have one and suspect having a dry socket, contact Bluffton dentist, Dr. Joel Darrah, and his team at Buckwalter Dental Care right away. Our dental office in Bluffton welcomes patients of all ages and it’s a friendly, professional, and modern environment where you can solve your dental issues. 

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