Dry socket isn’t very common, but certain things can put you at increased risk. You’re mostly at risk of dry socket during the first week after tooth extraction if you are a smoker smoking during the first few days post extraction. Smoking has been know to decrease blood supplies to the surgical site ; thus decrease healing.
While more research is needed, it’s estimated that less than 1 percent to 5 percent of people get dry socket after a routine tooth extraction. A dry socket is painful and has a foul smelling odor and it usually occurs 3-4 days after the tooth extraction when the socket failed to heal exposing the bone and nerve of the socket. If this happens, Dr. Hanah Pham will likely place a sedative dressing over the socket for a few days to protect it as a new clot forms.
What are the symptoms of dry socket?
The main symptoms of dry socket are as the follows:
- Increased pain.
- Odor in the mouth.
- Sensitive to cold drinks since soft tissues and nerve endings are exposed.
- Prolonged, unusual, and severe pain and swelling usually a few days after a tooth extraction that gets significantly worse over the course of a week. The pain may feel like it covers the whole side of your mouth or face.
- Partial or total loss of blood clot at the extraction site, bone in the socket may be visible due to no clot.
Usually, post-operative pain after an extraction will slowly improve over the course of several days to weeks, while a dry socket pain gets worse.
How to prevent dry socket
- Follow the post-operative instructions.
- Do not smoke within 48 hours after this surgery.
- Do not use a straw or cause trauma to the extraction site, thereby dislodging the clot.
- Gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater after meals to remove food (especially crackers, nuts, seeds, and foods that have crumbs) that gets stuck in the extraction site.
Every case of dry socket is different. Only your dentist can tell you your personal risk factors for dry socket. Only work with a highly-trained, experienced dentist such as Dr. Hanah Pham to ensure that you receive top quality dental treatments. To prevent dry socket, it’s very important that you follow Dr. Hanah Pham's instructions for recovery.
Call our dental office if you suspect dry socket. We can determine the next steps to help you recover.