What is Dry Socket?

What is meant by dry socket?

The way a person's mouth takes care of itself after an extraction is amazing. We just need to not make the job harder.

The way a person's mouth takes care of itself after an extraction is amazing. We just need to not make the job harder.

After a tooth extraction, one of the complications is known as dry socket. Normally after extraction, a blood clot is formed, which turns to a scab and then the bone and the gums close the gap that was formerly occupied by the tooth. Dry socket is the failure of formation of the blood clot, or it’s early removal before the scab is formed. Dry soxket can leave the nerve and bone exposed. 
     
 What causes dry socket?

Suitable wisdom tooth extraction attire. :)

Suitable wisdom tooth extraction attire. :)

The most common cause is difficult extraction, as when the tooth is firmly attached to the bone or when part of it breaks. However, there are some diseases that make the patients more prone to dry socket, such as:

Diabetes: Because the healing capabilities of the body are diminished, and so the blood clot is not formed or is very weak when formed.

Immune Deficiency: Any condition that decreases the immunity, such as HIV or Lupus, also decreases the body’s ability to heal.

Bone Diseases: Some bone diseases such as osteoporosis make the bone very weak and liable to breaking during the extraction. Others such as Paget’s disease make the bone stronger than normal, making the tooth highly fixed and nearly immovable.

There are also some local factors in the mouth, as when the tooth is ankylosed (meaning fused to the bone), or when the mouth is dry. Smoking also plays a significant role in destroying blood clots as soon as they are formed.

Say goodbye to mouthwashes until your mouth heals.

Say goodbye to mouthwashes until your mouth heals.

If the patient fails to follow the dentist’s instructions after tooth extraction, which are aimed at preserving this blood clot, the blood clot is removed and dry socket is inevitable.
     
 What are the symptoms of dry socket?

The main symptom is pain at the site of the wound, which occurs due to the bacteria entering the wound with nothing to stop them because the blood clot is not there. Other symptoms in more severe cases include bare bone, in the form of a small white piece inside the wound, which will appear as a “hole” in your jaw.

What can I do to prevent dry socket from happening?

After tooth extraction, the dentist will give you some instructions which are:
Avoid rinsing your mouth with water or saline or any other solution for at least one day, so that the blood clot does not move.

Avoid smoking for at least 48 hours. Most educated dentists will have an entire session with you just to convince you of stopping smoking.

If you have one of the previous predisposing factors, the dentist will probably give you an antibiotic or another form of medication to avoid infection and keep the blood clot in place.
Keep your mouth very clean, by brushing and flossing as normal but without the use of tooth paste so as not to contaminate the wound.

If you follow these instructions with precision, the chance of you suffering from dry socket is
minimized.

What should I do if I have these symptoms?

The first thing you need to do is head straight to your dentist, as early detection and treatment are vital. Your dentist will probably give you a numbing solution, clean the wound thoroughly, irrigate with saline and make a small cut in the gums or bone to make the wound bleed again, which will help in the formation of the blood clot. Some dentists tend to place a healing material inside the wound, which will decrease the pain and help in healing, others prefer to let the body fight it on its own. The dentist will then give you the same instructions as before, with the addition of a strong pain killer as the pain is more often severe.

All that remains after that is to follow the instructions and wait. The condition is painful but not very serious, and healing almost every time occurs within one week of starting the treatment. Dry socket is one of the conditions to which the saying “prevention is better than cure” applies.

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