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6 Tips to Prevent Dry Socket After a Tooth Extraction

Dry socket is a potential complication after you’ve had a tooth extraction. It’s a temporary but painful condition that usually needs to be treated by your dentist. It’s possible to prevent dry socket from occurring, however, making your recovery from the extraction quicker and easier.

At Today’s Dentistry in San Jose, California, Dr. Peter K. Lee and his staff provide a wide range of dental services, including tooth extraction. Because many people aren’t aware of the dry socket complication or how to prevent it from happening, the team has put together this guide to get you in the know.

Dry socket basics

Dr. Lee tries to restore broken or damaged teeth rather than pulling them out, but extraction may be necessary for a variety of reasons. Maybe you were in an accident and lost part of the tooth. Or you have an infection that’s spread to the tooth, and you’re in extreme pain, the kind that only pulling the tooth can resolve.

It’s possible that your wisdom teeth are impacted, are damaging your other teeth, or are causing a crowding problem. Or maybe it’s just too expensive to restore a badly damaged tooth. Whatever the reason, if pulling your tooth is the best option, we aim to do it as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

After Dr. Lee removes a tooth, a blood clot should form in your gums where the tooth was. The clot serves an important purpose — protecting the underlying bone, tissues, and nerves as the area heals.

If the blood clot doesn’t form, or if the clot becomes dislodged, it leaves the bone and nerves exposed, creating a great deal of pain and other symptoms. This is called dry socket, medically known as alveolar osteitis.

Symptoms of dry socket

The symptoms of dry socket vary from one person to the next but include:

You can expect a certain amount of pain after an extraction, but severe or worsening pain, especially pain that radiates, isn’t normal. Call Dr. Lee as soon as you suspect dry socket so he can clean and protect the area so it heals properly.

6 tips to prevent dry socket

There are six steps you can take at home to prevent dry socket from occurring:

  1. Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
  2. Avoid chewing hard foods for a few days; stick to soft foods like yogurt, gelatine, broth, and applesauce
  3. Drink plenty of clear liquids to remain hydrated, but skip the carbonated beverages
  4. Don’t drink with a straw — this can dislodge the dressing and clot
  5. Rinse gently with warm salt water several times each day
  6. When brushing your teeth around the extraction site, brush slowly and gently to prevent dislodging the clot

Dr. Lee gives you aftercare instructions when you’ve had a tooth pulled, but it’s up to you to prevent dry socket from happening once you leave the office.

If you’d like more information on dry socket, or if you’re in need of dental services, contact Today’s Dentistry by calling or texting us, or you can schedule an appointment online today.

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