What's a Dry Socket?
By Little Smiles and Big Smiles
July 21, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

It's an unfortunate fact of life. Sometimes a tooth must be extracted. Whether it's irreversibly decayed, abscessed, deeply cracked or tooth extraction, dry socketsimply blocking orthodontic correction, the extracted tooth leaves sutures and an empty socket behind. Dr. Islam Dehis of Little Smiles and Big Smiles in Fitchburg, MA, performs extractions expertly and comfortably, avoiding pain and complications. Also, good after care helps avoid a post-surgery problem called dry socket (alveolar osteitis). Learn what a dry socket is, how to prevent it, and how to treat it if it does occur.

What happens after an extraction in Fitchburg, MA?

Dr. Dehis carefully sutures the gums around the empty tooth socket, or hole left after he removes an ailing or injured tooth. These sutures stop bleeding and encourage formation of a blood clot at the site.

This small blood clot keeps the exposed jaw bone and nerves covered and avoids infection as well. Sometimes, however, this important clot becomes dislodged through smoking too soon after the procedure, rinsing too vigorously or drinking through a straw. Severe throbbing pain, which can spread to the ear, and bad breath accompany exposure of the bone. This urgent dental problem may happen 3 to 4 days after the tooth has been pulled.

Treatment of a dry socket

At the first signs a dry socket, the patient should call Dr. Dehis. He will rinse the area with antibacterial medication, remove any diseased tissue and apply new sutures and a dressing as needed. In addition, he may prescribe an antibiotic to quell infection and an analgesic to control pain.

Avoiding dry socket

Dry socket is relatively rare, occurring in only a small percentage of cases. Your dentist takes special precautions to avoid this complication, and he cautions his extraction patients to:

  • Avoid smoking and drinking with a straw for several days post-procedure
  • Encourage clot formation by biting gently on sterile gauze right after extraction
  • Consume a soft diet (soup, pasta, yogurt) for at least 24 hours and advance to regular foods gradually over the next week
  • Avoid very strenuous activity for a day or 2
  • Take any medications Dr. Dehis prescribes

Learn more

If you anticipate a dental extraction in Fitchburg, MA, ask your dentist about aftercare and how to avoid dry socket. Your dedicated team at Little Smiles and Big Smiles desires the best outcomes for all your dental treatments. If you are concerned about the health of a tooth or have a question or concern about any aspect of your oral health, please call (978) 343-2630 to speak to a friendly team member.

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