How to Avoid Dry Socket

On average, American adults have 25 teeth, meaning they’ve lost seven of the full complement — 28 plus four wisdom teeth. Any time you have a tooth extraction, you run the risk of developing a minor but often painful complication called dry socket.  

This condition develops when the clot that forms over the site of the extracted tooth breaks loose and doesn’t reform. Dry socket needs further attention from your dentist so that normal healing progresses without the added pain stemming from clot loss. 

As an extractions specialist, 54th Street Dental knows how to deal with dry socket, the most common complication that follows removal of a tooth. Here are some tips offered by the practice to help you avoid this condition. 

The background on dry socket

Whenever possible, dentists try to preserve your natural teeth, but sometimes extractions become necessary, such as when wisdom teeth are impacted or when you experience advanced tooth decay. 

Extraction of a tooth is a common dental procedure, performed under anesthesia to minimize patient discomfort. While the site will be sore after extraction, pain is manageable with prescription and over-the-counter medications. 

Your body starts to heal by forming a clot over the empty socket from the extracted tooth. This is expected and normal, and in many cases, healing proceeds normally until gum tissue regenerates over the socket. When the clot becomes dislodged prematurely, however, you’re at risk of developing dry socket. 

Signs and symptoms

When dry socket takes hold, you can expect one or more of these symptoms: 

When dry socket occurs, it’s usually a few days after the original procedure. Normally, aches and pains from the extraction subside after your appointment, so if pain gets worse and more severe, chances are you’re developing dry socket. 

Avoiding dry socket

Anything you can do to protect the newly formed clot helps you avoid the additional pain caused by dry socket. Follow these six tips:

  1. Stop smoking to avoid the effects of tobacco on normal blood flow
  2. Eat soft foods for several days after the extraction
  3. Stay hydrated with plenty of clear, non-carbonated drinks 
  4. Sip drinks rather than using a straw, which could dislodge the clot
  5. Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water several times each day
  6. When brushing your teeth, avoid brushing the clot itself

Contact the team at 54th Street Dental when you need to schedule an extraction. They’ll give you the information you need to manage your own post-procedure self-care and prevent dry socket. You can call the office directly at 212-333-3200, or request an appointment online using the link on this page.

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