RINSING and CLEANING
If possible, the patient should not rinse his mouth for twenty four hours following wisdom teeth extraction or any other extraction.
For the following 7 to 10 days after the patient should rinse the socket clean with warm salty water to remove food from the socket after every meal (a teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water).
The patient should rinse the sockets with good quality mouth wash morning and night for a week to 10 days. The mouth wash may stain the teeth if used excessively. The staining will come off but a dentist will be required to achieve this, once the mouth has healed. The remaining teeth should be brushed as normal, but the affected socket should be avoided.
As soon as it is comfortable to do so, the patient should gently brush the wound while brushing your teeth. This will keep the wound clean and will help stitches to dissolve. The socket usually takes 3-4 weeks to close over. It is unlikely that the patient will develop an infection after the first week but he will be picking food out for this time.
Avoid eating and hot liquid for about 3 hours or as long as the face is numb. A soft diet is advisable after this but the patient can eat what he can tolerate. Excessive chewing or hot liquids may cause more bleeding, so it is best to go gently.
The patient should avoid smoking for at least four days. Smoking delays all wound healing and increases the risk of infection. The more the patient smokes, the more likely he will be lightly to develop an infection. If the patient does develop an infection after wisdom teeth extraction, it will be quiet painful and take a week or more to resolve.
The patient is strongly advised not to drink alcohol, if he has received sedation. Even if he has not been sedated, alcohol is best avoided on the day of surgery as it may encourage bleeding.
A dry socket is a recognised complication following any dental extraction including the extraction of wisdom teeth. In occurs after approximately 4 per cent of all dental extractions.
A dry socket is more common after having wisdom teeth extraction on the lower jaw, after difficult extractions, in females and in patients taking the oral contraceptive.
The cause is unknown. The symptoms vary from mild to intense pain which may come on immediately after the dental extraction or approximately 3 days later and last between 10 and 14 days. On rare occasions the symptoms may last much longer.
The pain can be extreme and will not relieved by painkillers. The pain can be constant and may keep you awake at night. Antibiotics will make no difference. Painkillers are generally ineffective. There is no effective treatment which a dentist can offer. It is best not to disturb the socket in the search for a cure as this can aggravate the condition.