It is very common for patients to experience a little soreness after having one of their teeth removed, but if the pain does not improve after a week or so, then they may have developed something called a dry socket. This problem is certainly annoying, but thankfully, it is also easy to handle. Here are the top 3 ways to deal with a dry socket after an extraction in West Seneca.
What is a Dry Socket?
After a tooth has been extracted, a blood clot is supposed to form over the treatment area to protect it and help it heal. Sometimes, however, this clot can become dislodged or not form correctly to begin with, which leaves the jawbone and sensitive nerves in the area exposed, leading to quite a bit of discomfort. While this can happen after any kind of extraction, they most often occur after wisdom teeth extractions.
Dry Socket Symptoms
While pain in and near the extraction site is the most common sign of a dry socket, there are other symptoms a patient might experience as well, including:
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Bad breath that does not improve with brushing/using a mouthwash
- Swelling or redness in the area that lasts for more than a few days
- Being able to see the bone under the tooth socket
- Pain that radiates throughout the same side of the face as the extraction, possibly affecting the eye, temple, neck, and ear.
What Causes a Dry Socket?
Activities like drinking with a straw, spitting, or being too physically active within 24 hours of getting an extraction can all interfere with the much needed blood clot and prevent it from forming properly. Trying to chew on the same side as the extraction or using tobacco can hamper the healing process as well.
How to Handle a Dry Socket
- OTC Pain Medication: In order to get some immediate relief from the pain, you can take something like Tylenol or Advil.
- Gently Rinse your Mouth with Saltwater: The keyword here is gently. Rinsing the area with saltwater several times a day will remove any food debris or bacteria that is causing irritation.
- Call Your Dentist: While it is possible for a dry socket to heal on its own, this is rather risky because of the likelihood of infection, and it will take much longer than if you get professional help. Your dentist has special tools they can use to flush the area, plus they can protect it using a special medicated dressing. They can also prescribe you a pain medication that is much stronger than anything you can buy on your own, which will make the healing process much more comfortable. By closely following your dentist’s instructions, you will likely be able to fully recover from a dry socket within 7-10 days.
While having a dry socket is certainly unpleasant, it is a relatively simple problem for your dentist to handle. If you are experiencing any issues after a tooth extraction, just give them a call, and they will make the pain practically disappear before you know it.
About the Author
Dr. Lee Shainbrown is a graduate of the SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and has been providing general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry for local families for many years. If you believe that you or a loved one may be dealing with a dry socket, he is ready to provide the fast and effective relief you need. For more information, he can be contacted through his website.