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What Is Dry Socket, and How Do You Avoid It?

What Is Dry Socket, and How Do You Avoid It?

You might need to have damaged teeth removed for a number of reasons. Or, maybe you’re planning on dealing with your wisdom teeth this year. Either way, you need to know about the post-extraction risks of dry socket and how you can prevent this painful oral health issue.

At Union Square Dental in the Flatiron District of New York City, New York, our team provides expert extraction and post-extraction care to our patients. Here’s what we want you to know about the risks of dry socket, and the steps you can take to avoid this condition.

Understanding dry socket

After a tooth extraction, a blood clot should form in the empty socket in your gums where the tooth was previously located. You need this blood clot in order to keep your jaw bone, nerves, and other tissues safe and protected as the area heals.

Dry socket is a term for what happens if this blood clot either doesn’t form properly in the first place or gets displaced or dislodged before your recovery is complete. This condition is medically known as alveolar osteitis.

Dry socket is a temporary but painful condition. If you develop dry socket, you’ll probably need treatment from your dentist to deal with the problem. You can also take steps to prevent dry socket from occurring in the first place if you want your post-extraction recovery to be as quick and easy as possible.

Dry socket discomfort

Dry socket can cause a variety of symptoms. The most common symptom is severe pain felt around your extraction site, or seeming to radiate from the socket to your ear, eye, neck, or temple on the associated side.

You may be able to see exposed bone at the extraction site. Dry socket can also cause bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.

If your post-extraction pain isn’t improving, but, instead, seems to be getting worse, you could be dealing with dry socket, especially if the pain is radiating or severe.

Preventing and treating dry socket

The team at Union Square Dental can help with dry socket problems by cleaning and re-protecting the area for full healing and recovery. We also advise our patients on the steps to take in order to avoid dry socket.

As you recover after your extraction procedure, avoid chewing hard foods for a few days, and don’t drink with a straw, as this can create suction, dislodging the dressing or blood clot over the extraction site. You should also avoid carbonated beverages to prevent dry socket.

Soft foods like broth, applesauce, and yogurt, and plenty of warm-water rinses, get you through the first few days with a reduced risk of dry socket. You should drink plenty of clear liquids and stay well-hydrated during your recovery.

A note about smoking: smoking increases your risk of dry socket in multiple ways. The suction of smoking can dislodge a needed blood clot. Using tobacco also decreases your body’s ability to produce blood clots and can hinder the overall post-extraction healing process.

When you leave our office, we’ll give you aftercare instructions for keeping the teeth around the extraction site clean without disrupting your recovery or causing dry socket problems. For more information, contact Union Square Dental online or over the phone today.

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