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A dry socket is a painful condition that develops when the tooth’s nerve has died, and it is most common after wisdom tooth extraction. The term dry socket comes from the fact that there is no drainage hole for the blood in the bone where the tooth was extracted. The blood accumulates in this area of bone and begins to decay or “dry out.”

A dry socket might be caused by a lack of saliva production after surgery or extraction, which can lead to decreased levels of oxygen and an acidic environment in your mouth. This acidic environment can lead to an infection which will cause the gums around your teeth to become swollen and inflamed.

How Does a Dry Socket Form?

A dry socket forms when food particles, bacteria, or other material becomes trapped in the empty space that a missing tooth has left. This can happen after a tooth extraction or even after a root canal. The material will then decay and produce an unpleasant odor. Treatment for this condition is usually done with antibiotics and painkillers to help manage the pain and reduce inflammation.

Causes of Dry Socket

A dry socket is caused by an interruption in blood flow to the bone tissue that covers the roots of teeth after an extraction. This interruption can be caused by anything from a small cut in your mouth during surgery to something as simple as brushing your teeth too hard or spitting forcefully. It is important to note that not all extractions result in dry sockets, but they are more common with certain types of extractions and treatments (like wisdom tooth removal).

How to Treat & Prevent Dry Socket

The symptoms of dry socket usually start to show up after 24 hours of having your tooth extracted. They include:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Foul odor

While there are some ways to prevent dry sockets from happening in the first place, there are also some different remedies to treat dry sockets. For example, you can use ice packs or saline solution to moisten the area around your extraction site. You should also make sure that you have taken all of your pain medications not to feel any more pain than necessary.

The best solution is to contact your oral surgeon to ensure that there isn’t something they can do. Many times they can pack the dry socket with medicated dressings. They might also want to take a look to ensure there wasn’t any bone left behind or other issues that aren’t dry sockets but causing the pain.

What to Do When You Think You Have a Dry Socket

Oral surgery is a necessary evil that many have to endure. While a dry socket is preventable, it is also very common. When you have had surgery and you have more pain than expected, you should always reach out to your surgeon’s office to determine what can be done about it. Sometimes they will need to see you to determine what is going on. This allows them to evaluate if there is something they can do to help.  

If you have wisdom teeth or feel that you have a crowding issue and are looking for someone to do a tooth extraction, give us a call. We work with patients to come up with the best solution for you. Call and schedule an appointment today.