How Do You Prevent Dry Sockets After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

wisdom teeth

Two to five percent of people get dry sockets after wisdom teeth removal. Dry sockets can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

What Is a Dry Socket?

Sockets are holes that remain after a wisdom tooth extraction. Naturally, a clot will develop over the socket to protect it. In some cases, the clot may fail to develop or it can become dislodged. As a result, the nerves and bone in the socket become exposed to bacteria, food, and air, causing a dry socket.

A dry socket (alveolar osteitis) is a condition where an empty tooth socket gets inflamed following a tooth extraction. Symptoms of dry socket become noticeable two to three days after wisdom teeth extraction. A dry socket can prolong healing and, in most cases, cause a lot of pain. The pain can radiate to other areas of the face, possibly causing you to experience bad breath.

People Who Are Likely to Get Dry Socket

Anyone can develop a dry socket if something interferes with the blood clot that has formed in the removal site before it completely heals. Common causes include sneezing, coughing, spitting, and poor oral hygiene. Blood clot dislodging can also result from suction from straws. You are at a higher risk of developing a dry socket if you:

  • Have a history of developing dry sockets after teeth extraction.
  • Use birth control pills.
  • Experience more trauma during the tooth extraction surgery.
  • Have poor oral hygiene.
  • Smoke.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

Nobody wants to develop a dry socket because of the pain involved. If you are about to go for a wisdom tooth extraction, the following tips can help you prevent a dry socket.

Eat Soft Foods

Immediately after a tooth extraction, eat soft foods that don’t require much chewing. Also, avoid eating foods that can easily get stuck in the socket. Crunchy food such as nuts and crisps can leave remnants in the socket. Go for soft foods such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, or applesauce.

Avoid Cigarettes and Straws

Drinking through straws and smoking can create suction. Avoid any type of suction that can cause the blood clot in the socket to dislodge. Don’t use straws for the next seven days after tooth extraction.

Additionally, smoking is seriously discouraged after tooth extraction. Tobacco not only hinders the healing process but may also cause an infection in the socket. You can use nicotine patches during the recovery period instead.

Observe Good Oral Hygiene

Just because you have had your tooth extracted does not mean you should not brush and floss your teeth regularly. But while observing good oral hygiene, use a soft bristle brush.

Gently brush the teeth close to the socket to remove any bacteria present in the area. Use warm, salty water to rinse your mouth to remove food debris. Be careful not to use much force when rinsing to avoid dislodging the blood clot in the socket.

Dry Socket Treatment

In case you develop a dry socket, go back to your oral surgeon or dentist as soon as possible. Not all dry sockets are treated using pain medication. Your dentist may have to clean the socket to remove any debris and apply a special paste to promote healing in the area. In some cases, the patient may need to take antibiotics if the socket has an infection.

​​​​​​​For more on preventing dry sockets, visit Eagle Gate Dental at our office in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can call 801-781-5300 today to schedule an appointment.