Are you scheduled for an extraction or have recently undergone such a procedure? If so, your dentist must have updated you on certain possibilities that may take shape after the tooth extraction has been successfully performed. Although not very common, dental surgeons often warn their patients regarding the unfortunate possibility of getting dry socket post surgery. Dry socket, also known as Alveolar osteitis is a painful complication linked with improper wound healing after the offending tooth has been pulled out from its socket.
This dental complication has most frequently been seen in relation to dental extractions of the posterior teeth, for example, the wisdom tooth (thrid molars). The term ‘dry socket’ refers to the clinical appearance of the socket due to exposure of bone, which occurs after the blood cot formed dislodges from its original position. As a result, the underlying bone is exposed to bacterial action, saliva and food. All of this leads to further infection of the socket.
To avoid finding yourself in such a painfully distressing dental situation marked by excruciating pain, restricted mouth opening and repelling oral odour, follow each and every step given. Only when you do so, the healing rate of the recently extracted socket will continue undisturbed, without causing any complication.
Do’s and Dont’s for Avoiding Dry Socket
Pay Heed to What Your Oral Surgeon Instructs
Your dental care provider may give you the following instructions to follow before and after the tooth has been extracted. Pay close attention to each of the instructions given. The medications prescribed, inclusive of the course of antibitotic drug must be started prior to the extraction. As soon as the surgery is over, you will be asked to bite onto a medicated cotton roll or gauze which is firmly placed over the extraction site to control the post-operative bleeding.
The purpose is to maintain a constant pressure over the socket in order to promote the formation of a clot that has a protective role. Replace the gauze with a new, clean one as per the dentist’s guidelines. If you change the cotton or gauze too often, it can increase the chances of clot disruption.
Exert Caution while Rinsing
To avoid inflicting damage on the blood clot, one of the best preventive practice is to not rinse the mouth in the first twenty four hours after the procedure. Once the first day passes, a gentle mouth rinse using a glass of warm saltwater multiple times in a day helps keep the extraction area free of infection, besides curbing the pain and inflammation.
Identify the Risk Factors Linked with Dry Socket
Specific personal habits or health afflictions may render a person more suscpetible towards the development of alveolar osteitis post dental extraction. It is, thus, a must for all patients to provide all the relevant details regarding their past or present medical history, before going ahead with the surgical or non-surgical extraction. Those taking hormonal medications, for example, women on oral contraceptives are more susceptible to developing the intense pain causing dry socket as compared to others.
The surplus amount of a hormone known as estrogen favours the disruption and breakdown of the newly formed blood cot, owing to its ability to cause fibrinolysis which consequently dissloves the clot. The same level of risk stands in the case of smokers who have a restricted flow of blood supply than non smokers. This slows down the healing rate of the extraction site.
Further, if an individual smokes or consumes tobacco in any form within the first twenty four hours after the surgery, the sucking or blowing action is sufficient to deviate the clot from its original position. Not just that, the carbon monoxide released via smoking drastically impairs the circulation of blood in and around the tooth socket. These are some of the habits that escalates the individual’s odds of damaging the protective blood clot.
One of the sure shot ways of avoiding the post extraction trouble is to plan the day of extraction and to quit smoking for a minimum duration of seven days during that time. Females on oral contraceptives must choose to get the extraction done in the time span between day 23 to day 28 of their menstrual cycle. During these specific days, the level of estrogen is comparatively low which helps lower the risk of incurring dry socket.
Keep a Check on the Level of Activity
Once the tooth has been pulled out, there is no harm in taking rest for the remianing part of the day. Although it is safe to resume work from the next day, for the next seven days or so, it is advisable to not get involved in any form of rigorous exercise or activity. Such type of physical movement may ultimately result in dislodgment of the clot that covers the socket while it is still in the process of healing.
Also, make a conscious effort to not sneeze, open the mouth too wide and cough or spit with too much force.
As food intake is restricted after the surgery, try to keep the hydration level of the body as high as possible. This can be achieved by having lots of water. Drinks that contain caffeine or are carbonated or excessively hot must not be consumed in the first twenty four hours after the time of extraction.
The list of liquid types to be avoided also includes alcohol containing beverages. Many people tend to use a straw for the ease of liquid intake. However, the sucking action caused by the straw can loosen the blood clot, leading to its movement away from the clot.
To ensure that one does not experience the discomfort seen in dry soclet, eat solely those food items which have a soft texture. There are many options one can rely on, such as plain yoghurt, icecream and so on. The dental surgeon always discourages the intake of sticky, crunchy food items, especially those with a grainy consistency. Follow each of the given instructions and do not forget to go the dental clinic for a follow up visit. Do so and the chances of suffering from dry socket will be nil.