4 Ways To Avoid Dry Socket After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Dry socket is the loss of the protective blood clot in the gap where your tooth used to be. Once this blood clot is gone, the alveolar bone is directly exposed, causing an immense amount of pain and discomfort. Although dry socket only affects up to 5% of patients after wisdom tooth removal, it's painful enough that you should do everything you can to actively prevent its occurrence. Here are four things that can help keep your blood clots in place to avoid dry socket.

1) Avoid Drinking With A Straw

Extracting your wisdom teeth leaves gaping holes in your gums for several weeks. The risk of trapping infectious material in the gums means dentists cannot close the wounds with a suture. Instead, you must wait for your gums to heal and close up on their own. During this time, the blood clot inside the wound is very loosely held in place by the surrounding material.

Any amount of suction can usually dislodge the clot and pull it out of the hole, especially after swelling goes down a bit. Avoid drinking out of a straw or sucking on hard candy to help keep the clot in place until your gums heal.

2) Do Not Smoke Cigarettes

Studies reveal that smokers have a 12% higher chance of developing dry socket than non-smokers. In addition to creating suction that could dislodge the clot, smoking reduces your body's ability to heal in a timely manner.

Even waiting just a few days before lighting up again can reduce your chance of developing this painful complication. If you cannot quit consuming nicotine without severe withdrawals, think about using a volcano bag vaporizer that doesn't require suction until you're healed.

3) Continue Good Oral Care Routines

The open wound created from the wisdom tooth extraction process requires round the clock care to heal properly. By closely following your dentist's instructions, you can heal quickly and reduce your risk of developing dry socket.

Immediately after the procedure, your dentist will place several layers of gauze between your teeth. You should bite down on the gauze until the wound stops seeping, which could take at least an hour. You can switch out the gauze for new ones if the layers become saturated in blood or pus. Gently brush your teeth two to three times a day starting the same night the procedure was performed. Rinse with the prescribed mouthwash twice a day to keep the wounds clean.

4) Eliminate Hot Foods During Recovery

Hot foods and beverages consumed during the first week of recovery can cause irritation that results in swelling. Recurrent swelling can slowly work the blood clots free and expose the nerves and bone below.

You should cool all foods, especially liquid based ones like soup, to room temperature before consuming them. Ice your beverages to help reduce swelling and pain felt throughout your mouth. You can also place bags of ice on your jaw line to reduce swelling from the outside of your mouth. Taking measures to prevent swelling will help the blood clots stay in place as long as you avoid suction as well.

Report All Symptoms Immediately

Pay close attention to your oral health while healing from the wisdom tooth removal procedure. Look at the sockets in the mirror to see if you can spot the blood clot inside. If this blood clot disappears, go into the dentist's office immediately to have the socket packed with gauze soaked in a numbing agent. Act quickly, as pain is much easier to treat before it escalates out of control. You should also go back in for a quick checkup if you notice extremely bad breath or excessive pain shooting into your jaw and ear.

For more information, go to sites of local dentists and oral surgeons.