Have you had a tooth removed? If so, you can experience dry socket. Dry socket is rare; however, it is a common complication following a tooth extraction. Approximately 1.8 percent of dental patients experience dry socket. Luckily, you can learn how to tell if you have dry socket by reading this article.
When you have a tooth extracted, the jaw bone is exposed. Typically, a blood clot forms to protect your jaw bone, surrounding teeth, and gums. If the blood clot does not properly develop, or if it becomes dislodged, dry socket can occur. When a clot dislodges, the bones and nerves become exposed, resulting in intense pain.
How to Tell If You Have Dry Socket
The first way to tell if you have dry socket is to take a look in a mirror. Open your mouth really wide and shine a light into your mouth. If you can see bone where your tooth was, you probably have dry socket.
Another way to tell if you have dry socket is your pain level. Those who are suffering from dry socket experience throbbing pain in the jaw. This pain may radiate up your face to your eyes, ears, or temple area, or it can radiate downwards towards your neck. Typically, this pain will occur approximately three days following your extraction; however, it can happen any time.
Finally, if you are experiencing dry socket, bad breath can occur. You may also have an unpleasant taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away, even after brushing your teeth or using mouthwash. You may also experience bad breath.
What Prevents a Blood Clot from Forming Following a Tooth Extraction
Researchers are unsure why a blood clot does not form following a tooth extraction. Many believe it can be caused by bacteria forming in the hole. These bacteria can be caused by food particles or liquids from entering the socket. A water flosser helps remove bacteria from the mouth and eliminate bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
In addition to this, certain medications like birth control pills, blood thinners, and aspirin can prevent the formation of a blood clot. Trauma to the area can also cause dry socket. Brushing your teeth can disrupt the socket and stop the blood clot from forming.
How Can You Prevent Dry Socket?
You should keep the gauze that your dentist placed over the extraction in place for at least 45 minutes. The dressing will help encourage a blood clot and can decrease your risk of developing dry socket. You should take care of your mouth until it is fully healed. Choose soft foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth.
If you smoke, ask your dentist or oral surgeon about an oxidized cellulose dressing to help decrease the risk of dry sock. The first 24 hours following your surgery are the most important. You should avoid eating crunchy foods like chips, nuts, popcorn, or seed that could get stuck in your socket. Acidic or hot beverages, including coffee, orange juice, and soda should be avoided as they can disintegrate the formed blood clot. Avoid blowing or sucking because it can change the pressure inside your mouth and dislodge the blood clot. Do not rinse your mouth our vigorously, use a mouthwash that contains alcohol, or use an electric toothbrush surrounding your tooth extraction location.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above or experience continued bleeding or pus in your mouth, it may be time to contact your dentist or oral surgeon. Inflammation or mild pain is common following a tooth extraction; however, if your pain does not improve or increases, contact your dentist to determine if you have developed dry socket.
Keeping Your Mouth Clean
To help avoid dry socket, you must follow your dentist’s or oral surgeon’s at-home care instructions. Practice good oral hygiene to keep your mouth clean and bacteria at bay to decrease the risk of developing dry socket.
Dry socket does not typically cause any complications other than increased pain and inflammation; however, if dry socket is left untreated, it can lead to delayed healing, an infection in your socket, or an infection that could spread to the jaw bone.
Learning the symptoms of dry socket can help you determine how to tell if you have dry socket. Follow all at-home instructions to lower your risk of dry socket and ensure your gums heal properly.