Dry sockets are known as alveolar osteitis by dentists and it is quite common to have a drysocket after tooth extraction. Generally, a blood clot is expected to protect the underlying bones and nerves in the hole, created due to tooth extraction. But, if the blood clot is not formed or it is dislodged or dissolved due to fibrinolysis, then the socket becomes dry. The socket appears dry and you can see the exposed bone. There is no formation of pus in the socket. The blood clot formation is required for heeling the wound or the socket.
A dry socket leads to severe pain and the heeling process is delayed. Drysocket pain intensifies, 3-4 days after the extraction of the tooth. The pain can be unbearable and can not be shortened unless and until it is properly treated. Before knowing about how to prevent dry socket, let us first have a look at the drysocket symptoms, which can be very irritating.
Dry Socket Symptoms
* Severe pain is the main symptom of drysocket after tooth extraction.
* Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth, as gaping wound is an open invitation to microorganisms
* Difficulty in eating
* Loss of appetite
* Swollen lymph nodes in neck
* Swollen gum or adjacent teeth
* Jaw pain
After reading the symptoms only, one can imagine how a dry socket must be leading to restless days and sleepless nights. So it is better to prevent drysocket formation.
Prevent Dry Socket
To prevent drysocket, we need to know what causes dry socket. There are conflicting results from the studies organized to identify the factors that appear to be associated with increasing incidences of experiencing dry sockets. But, if these factors are taken into consideration while planning for and proceeding with a tooth extraction, then the risk for drysocket can be minimized.
Follow Dentist’s Instructions: You should follow the dentist’s postoperative instructions sincerely to avoid dry socket. The dentist places a gauze packing and the patient has to bite it to place it firmly in the socket. The dentist advises the patients that they should not disturb the gauze packing that the dentist has placed over their extraction site for the next 30, and probably preferably, 60 minutes. This is the time when the blood clot is formed in the socket. After the formation of the blood clot also, at least for the first 24 hours, patient should avoid vigorous rinsing, refrain from actions like sucking on a straw or cigarette, avoid alcohol and tobacco use in general, minimize physical stress and exercise, and avoid hot liquids such as coffee or soup. The dentist may provide you with some more specific instructions, if required. You should sincerely follow all those instructions.
Traumatic Tooth Extractions: The chances of drysocket formation are more in cases of traumatic tooth extractions. It is believed that the traumatized bone in the area of the extraction site releases compounds or the tissue activators, that then diffuse into the blood clot that has formed in the tooth socket. These tissue activators are responsible for the disintegration of the blood clot. Therefore, the heeling process of the dry socket is delayed. During the process of disintegration of the blood clot, some compounds like kinins are released which stimulate the pain receptors, resulting in severe pain. So more care should be taken to prevent drysocket, in case of traumatic tooth extractions.
Dental Care: As you know, tooth decay is the main reason behind most of the tooth extractions. With proper dental care, you can avoid tooth decay and the related further complications. Thus you can prevent dry socket after tooth extraction. Even after tooth extraction, the cleaner you keep the extraction site, the quicker it will heal. 24 hours after your tooth extraction, you can gently rinse the socket with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water) after meals and before bed. This offers great toothache relief. Commercial mouth rinses are not recommended as they may irritate the extraction site.
Stitches: The dentist sometimes may place sutures (stitches) in the extraction site which are either re-absorbents which disintegrate and dissolve away on their own or non-re-absorbents which will be removed by him. You should not feel afraid of the stitches as the process of removing stitches is usually very easy and quite painless. If the question ‘do stitches prevent drysocket’ is haunting you, the answer is that the stitches are not placed to prevent dry socket. You should follow the instructions of the dentist religiously, regarding the stitches. Do not disturb the extraction site with your tongue or finger.
History of Dry Socket: If you have already experienced a dry socket with any of the past tooth extractions, then the chances of having a drysocket are more. Keeping this in mind, you should follow the instructions carefully. You should be diligent in your efforts not to disrupt the blood clot.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions: Wisdom tooth extraction is considered as traumatic tooth extraction, so there are more chances of formation of wisdom teeth dry socket. You should take proper care and follow the instructions of your dentist, to avoid drysocket.