Dry Socket After Tooth Extraction Treatment

You may require dry socket after tooth extraction treatment, if you develop this complication after getting your tooth extracted. Read on to know more about how a dry socket is treated.
A tooth extraction in itself can be a harrowing experience for many. Even though, complications are not common in tooth extractions, some people develop problems due to various reasons like, poor aftercare. One such complication associated with extraction of teeth, especially, wisdom teeth, is dry socket. Let us understand in detail about the condition, especially, dry socket after tooth extraction treatment.

What is a Dry Socket?

Dry socket can be defined as a post tooth extraction complication that causes immense pain. In order to understand the condition, you must have some awareness about the tooth anatomy. The root of a tooth is housed in a cavity in the jawbone, called socket. During the tooth extraction procedure, the tooth, along with the root, is removed and the socket is filled with blood clots. These blood clots play an active role in the healing process, as it protects the nerves and bone (inside) from damage that can be caused due to external factors. Within one week, the site gets covered with gum and gradually, the bone grows into the socket and fills it.

In some cases, the blood clots may not form in the socket, exposing the bone and nerves to external elements. It may also happen that the clots formed at the site get dislodged or dissolved, within two or three days of extraction. Absence of blood clots causes exposure of the bone and nerves to external elements and leads to symptoms like, severe pain, bad odor, etc. This condition is called dry socket or alveolar osteitis. This requires dry socket after tooth extraction treatment. It is said that this condition is caused by factors like, smoking, complexity of the extraction procedure, poor after care, intake of oral contraceptives, etc. The following paragraph deals with dry socket after tooth extraction cure and prevention.

Dry Socket After Tooth Extraction Medication

Dry socket after tooth extraction treatment is required in case of patients, who develop this condition. Dry socket treatment includes cleaning the socket and dressing the site, along with medications to control pain and prevent infections. Once the socket with exposed bone and nerves is flushed out by the surgeon (cleaning to remove food materials), he/she will pack the site with medicated dressing to fasten the healing process. Dry socket after tooth extraction medications include anti-inflammatory drugs like, NSAIDs, antibiotics, etc.

In some cases, dry socket pain may not subside with regular pain killers and such patients require strong ones like, nerve blocks. The patient may also be advised to use medicated mouthwash at home. Dry socket symptoms will resolve once, the patient starts taking medicines, but complete healing requires around two weeks. Now, you know more about dry socket after tooth extraction treatment.

How to Prevent Dry Socket After Tooth Extraction

One of the most important points to remember, to prevent dry socket after tooth extraction, is to avoid causative factors like, smoking. The person who has to undergo tooth extraction must stop using tobacco products a few days ahead of the extraction procedure. As women are more prone to develop this condition, due to the high estrogen levels, it is better to go for this procedure, during the last days of the cycle, when the estrogen levels are low. Even use of oral contraceptives may cause this condition. So, seek the opinion of a dentist before the procedure, about using these pills, for dry socket prevention. Some medications that are currently used by a patient may also lead to this condition. So, the dentist must be provided with information about the medical condition of the patient, along with the medications. After tooth extraction, the patient must take care to avoid spitting for a few days. The same applies to forceful rinsing and rigorous brushing near the site. Consume soft foods and use a straw to drink liquids. Avoid consumption of carbonated drinks and alcohol for a few days.

In short, whoever develops this condition, must contact their dentist for dry socket after tooth extraction treatment, as soon as they develop the symptoms. This will fasten the dry socket healing process and reduce the chances of further complications.
By Sonia Nair
Last Updated: 10/13/2011
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