Dry Socket: Evildoings After Tooth Extraction
Remember, if a dry mouth leads to dental problems or indicates disease, dry socket can't be a good thing either. Technically known as alveolar osteitis, dry socket describes a lack of blood clot in the hole of your gum where a tooth formerly lived or died.
Simply put, you need the blood clot to begin healing after you have a tooth pulled. It acts like a dragon to keep air, food, and germs out of the cave where your bone and nerves now lie defenseless.
Wisdom teeth dry socket prevails over all other dry socket problems. Your third molars, then other molars and then other teeth mark the presiding order of dry socket occurrence.
Dry socket may occur if a clot never formed in the first place or if the clot dislodges later. The most common complication of any tooth extraction (aside from swelling), dry socket symptoms usually rear their ugly heads one to three days after a dental extraction.
Five Dry Socket Symptoms
So which ugly head needs slaying? Here is a list of dry socket symptoms to help you decide whether or not you need to see your dentist immediately:
Severe or Worsening Pain - Extractions generally leave us all with a bit of discomfort. But if the pain doesn't recede a bit after the first day, it takes on a throbbing quality, or it radiates to the eye and ear, you may need to seek dry socket treatment.
Visible Bone - You'd probably freak out a bit if you fell off your bike only to realize you can suddenly see bone popping out of your forearm. Well don't panic, but if you can see the whites of your jawbones in the holes where your teeth used to be, ask your dentist about dry socket.
Bad Breath - If you're breathing bad voodoo breath after an extraction, you just might have dry socket symptoms. (Of course, if you had bad voodoo breath to begin with, please take that into consideration.)
Toxic Tastes - Usually accompanied by bad voodoo breath. If you're getting new tongue-twisting tastes after you've had teeth extracted though, consider this a possible dry socket symptom.
Swollen Lymph Nodes - Beware the Jabberwocky jaws, my fine-fettled friends! Looking large and not in charge of your dental health, especially in the neck and jaw area, usually indicates dry socket after a tooth extraction.
Reasons for Getting Dry Socket
The fact is that researchers and medical scientists aren't very sure about the causes of dry socket. They do, however, have some primary suspects. Columbia University's College of Dental Medicine (CUCDM) says diabetics, smokers and women on birth control pills tend to experience dry socket more frequently than others.
Also, CUDCM cites a 3-20 percent chance of dry socket symptoms after tooth extraction for overall patients. Wisdom teeth dry socket occurrences account for the higher number, particularly if impacted.
So what should you do to prevent dry socket?
Keep it clean. Always practice good oral hygiene to minimize germs, and have your teeth professionally cleaned before the extraction procedure.
But don't rinse vigorously or brush around the extraction site. Dentists provide specific instructions to minimize the need for dry socket treatment.
Provide safe lodgings. Be hospitable to the protective clot by backing off straws and spitting. It seems sucking actions tend to invite dry socket symptoms.
Stop smoking. Not only does it wreak havoc with the rest of your body, the chemicals also slow down the healing process in your mouth. Smoking is another sucking action, and it causes dry mouth which prevents cleansing saliva from washing away the bad characters around your teeth. The dry socket monster loooooves smokers.
Check your birth control calendar. The CUDCM suggests days 23 to 28 are the best times in the birth control pill cycle for women to schedule a tooth extraction.
Battle Tactics: Wash, Dress and Subdue
Dry socket treatment usually involves some simple procedures. First, your dentist washes the area with either an antibiotic or saline solution. (You might get anesthetized first.)
Next comes the dressing. Expect a dissolving paste or sponge, steeped in antibiotics. Other dressings won't dissolve and will require periodic changing. Expect this stage of dry socket treatment to take one or two dressings for most patients.
Finally, your dentist will either prescribe pain killers or suggest some over-the-counter medications to subdue your more painful dry socket symptoms.
Though treatment takes little time, dry socket healing generally proceeds over a few weeks.
Who Can Help Slay Your Dry Socket Monster
Your dentist remains your best defense. First, follow his or her instructions to the letter when having a tooth extraction. Then, if you find that you get dry socket no matter what you did or did not do, see your dentist for dry socket treatment as soon as possible. Dry socket healing begins with a phone call.
To find a dentist to help with your dry socket, please call 1-866-970-0441.