4 Ways to prevent dry socket
When you have a tooth extracted, a blood clot will develop over the removal site to protect and heal your underlying bone and nerve endings. This clot usually stays in place until your gums have healed and your mouth is back to normal.
Sometimes the clot can get dislodged. If this happens, you’ll experience the painful complication known as a dry socket (alveolar osteitis). The result is that the nerves and bone in the extraction site are exposed to air and outside substances. Dry socket is uncomfortable and delays the healing of your mouth. It’s important to try and avoid it.
Here are a few ways you can prevent dry socket:
- Avoid straws and suction: The suction movement of air and cheek muscles when a straw is used may dislodge your blood clot. You should avoid using straws for one week after your tooth extraction. You can still enjoy a milkshake if you want, but you need to use a spoon.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco: People who smoke and use tobacco are at a higher risk of developing dry socket after tooth extraction. One study found that dry socket occurred in 12 percent of people who smoked after a tooth extraction. By comparison, only 4 percent of those who don’t smoke developed dry socket.
The fast inhalation of smoking can dislodge your blood clot. Reduce your tobacco intake for a couple weeks leading up to a planned surgery. Also your dentist may also be able to provide resources or help you develop a plan to quit smoking.
- Eat soft foods: The first day after your surgery, eat only soft foods like applesauce, yogurt, and mashed potatoes. On the second day you can attempt slightly heartier foods but you should return to soft foods if you experience any pain.
- Avoid spitting vigorously after rinsing for 24-48 hours: Spitting vigorously after rinsing or for any other reason creates a lot of pressure and suction in your mouth, and could result in your blood clot being dislodged. After rinsing, do not spit vigorously. Let the liquid drip out of your mouth giving your mouth time to heal for the next few days.
Gentle care for the extraction site is vital. Monitor your pain and the appearance of the site after the extraction. Pain that intensifies after three or four days is usually not a result of the extraction. If these symptoms occur, call our Plano, TX office at once.