Whether your wisdom teeth have become painful or you are dealing with a severely infected tooth, you may need to undergo a dental extraction. Tooth extractions should not cause any pain during the actual procedure, but improper care during the recovery process can lead to a painful dry socket. Unfortunately, you may not understand how easily dry sockets can develop. Using this guide, you will understand dry sockets and learn how to prevent and treat these painful dental problems.
The Development of Dry Sockets
After your dentist extracts a tooth, a blood clot should form over the incision site. This clot stops the flow of blood out of your tooth socket, but it also serves as a coating to protect the gum tissue, underlying nerves, and bone from food and bacteria.
If the blood clot becomes loose or dissolves, air, food, and bacteria will make contact with the incision site and underlying nerves. Known as a dry socket, the exposed incision site will be painful, but it will also be at risk of developing an infection.
Preventing Dry Sockets
Fortunately, preventing a dry socket from forming after a tooth extraction is possible. Since signs of a dry socket may first develop within 3 to 4 days after your extraction, you should follow instructions strictly to ensure a successful recovery.
Your dentist will give you medicated gauze pads to place over the extraction site. It is important that you apply pressure by biting down gently on the gauze over the extraction site for the first few hours after the procedure. This pressure will stop bleeding, allowing the clot to develop and form the protective covering over the incision.
Be sure to rest the day of your extraction. Avoid any strenuous activity for a week after the extraction, since exercise and other continuous movements may prevent the blood clot from developing and securing properly.
Avoid smoking or using any tobacco products for a few days after your extraction, as well. It is also wise to eat only soft woods for the first day or so after your procedure. Do not use a straw to drink beverages, since the sucking motion will cause the blood clot to loosen or dislodge completely.
Brushing your teeth the day after your extraction is fine, but make sure to use soft-bristled brush over your teeth and gums. Avoid making any contact with the blood clot, since your toothbrush or floss can loosen and remove the clot from over the incision site. Rinse your mouth with an anti-bacterial mouthwash to remove germs and bacteria.
Treating Dry Sockets
If you begin experiencing pain and discomfort in the incision site, contact your dentist immediately. Pain that begins in the extraction site and radiates through your mouth and jaw is a sign of a dry socket and possible infection.
In most cases, your dentist will flush out the socket using an antibacterial solution to remove food and bacteria from the extraction site. This will reduce the risk of a future infection while also relieving some of your pain.
After cleaning debris from the incision site, you will need to bite down on medicated gauze over the area to help a new clot form. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed to treat infections. To alleviate pain and swelling of the gums, your dentist will suggest taking an over-the-counter ibuprofen medication.
Dry sockets are painful conditions that can lead to infections and an increased recovery time after an extraction. With this guide and the help of your dentist, you will understand the dangers of dry sockets and learn how to prevent them after a tooth extraction. Contact a clinic like TLC Dental Center for more information.