Dry socket treatment

If you’ve ever had a tooth extracted, such as a molar or your wisdom teeth removed, and felt intense pain in the gum at the site of extraction, you are someone who has experienced a dry socket. A dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is the most common condition that happens after a tooth extraction. Some are lucky enough not to experience this, but others aren’t so lucky. The pain from a dry socket usually happens one to three days after an extraction. While dry sockets don’t arise any health concerns, the pain is extremely discomforting, and luckily, there are treatments to relieve this pain.

Dry Sockets
When the blood clot at the site of extraction gets dislodged or is dissolved before the wound has healed, a dry socket occurs. The excruciating pain comes from the nerve and bone in this area being exposed to air. This blood clot is supposed to be there to act as a shield of protection for the underlying nerve and bone; it also provides a foundation for new bone and soft tissue growth over the area.

Treatment
As mentioned above, any treatment given is one to alleviate the painful symptoms of dry sockets. There are different methods that can achieve this. Talk with your dentist or oral surgeon about the problem and he or she will recommend the best treatment.

Medicated dressings
These dressings are given by a dentist or the oral surgeon who performed the surgery; he or she will pack the socket with medicated dressings. The pain relief experienced will be felt instantly. The dressings will probably have to be changed several times, once every couple of days. The number of times and how often they need to be changed depends on the severity of the problem.

Pain medication

Pain medications can be a big help in relieving the pain from dry sockets. If over-the-counter medications are not effective, which they are often not, stronger medications can be prescribed by the dentist or oral surgeon.

Flushing out the socket
Getting the socket flushed out can remove any food or debris stuck there. This is often done before the medicated dressings are applied. However, this alone is sometimes enough to relieve pain.

Self care
At home, it is important that you stay on top of keeping the area clean. You will most likely be given a special syringe and taught how to flush out the socket. It is critical to practice good oral hygiene, particularly after a tooth extraction, in order to prevent infections and dry sockets. Cleaning the mouth is important whether or not an oral surgery has been performed. Remember that when self careisn’t enough, don’t hold off going back to the dentist to get a treatment for the dry sockets.

Avoid tobacco products
Avoid smoking and using tobacco as this can cause more discomfort.

Cold packs
If the dry socket gets to the point that it causes swelling of the gum or face, use a cold pack on the area.

Salt water
Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water a few times a day can help prevent an infection and hopefully reduce the symptoms of dry sockets.

Prevention
Of course, it is always important to do anything one can to prevent dry sockets and promote proper healing. You may be given things to do this: antibacterial mouthwashes or gels, oral antibiotics, and antiseptic solutions to apply to the wound. On your part, you can drink lots of water, without using a straw for at least a week after surgery; eat only soft foods; brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly; and lighten your activity load for a few days after surgery.

Last updated on Dec 18th, 2010 and filed under Dental Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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