After wisdom teeth extractions in Fairfax, you can expect your mouth to be sore and tender for a few days. Throughout the course of a week or so, you’ll gradually feel better and better until you reach the point where you can get back into your normal busy routine. However, some patients hit a speed bump on their road to recovery — dry socket. What is dry socket, how can you recognize it, and what is the best way to treat it?
What Is Dry Socket?
Whenever you incur an injury or undergo surgery, a blood clot forms. After tooth extractions, the clot’s purpose is to protect the bone and nerves underneath it as your body heals. Sometimes, though, the clot gets dislodged or never forms properly to begin with. You may end up experiencing significant pain due to the fact that the nerves and bone in the tooth’s socket are exposed to the outside world.
Besides pain, some indicators of dry socket after an extraction in Fairfax include:
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth accompanied by persistent bad breath
- Visible bone at the extraction site or an empty-looking socket
- Swollen glands
- A low-grade fever
- Discomfort in other areas of the face, such as the jaw, temple, eyes, or ears
How Can You Treat Dry Socket?
You shouldn’t try to tough it out through dry socket; the problem will not go away on its own. Your best course of action is to visit your dentist. They’ll wash out the socket with a special saline solution to get rid of any food particles or bacteria that may have accumulated there. Then, they’ll place a special dressing over it to protect it and ease your pain; they’ll also likely prescribe you pain medications. You may need to get the dressing replaced after a few days. The normal recovery time after dry socket treatment is 7 – 10 days.
Preventing Dry Socket
Dry socket is a relatively rare complication, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it as a possibility. You can reduce your risk of suffering from it if you take a few simple precautions after your extraction surgery:
- Avoid straws. The suction may dislodge the blood clot.
- Do not use tobacco. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can slow down healing time. Inhaling cigarette smoke too quickly might unsettle the blood clot.
- Be careful around the extraction site. You might have to wait a day or so after surgery before you brush your teeth. When you resume your oral hygiene routine, be very gentle around the extraction site.
- Stick to soft foods. Soft foods, like applesauce and yogurt, should compose the bulk of your diet during the first couple of days after your surgery.
If you believe you’re suffering from dry socket, contact your dentist right away. Hopefully, it won’t be long before you and your smile are back to feeling your best.
About the Author
Dr. Sanae Berrada is a general dentist and orthodontist who takes great pride in delivering expert, compassionate care to each patient. She and Dr. Glikman work together to provide truly comprehensive services to Fairfax residents. To learn more about our dentists, or to ask questions about wisdom teeth extractions, contact our office at 703-279-3400.