Cartoon image of a man with dry socket after a tooth extraction in Katy, TX

How to Prevent Dry Socket After a Tooth Extraction

June 20, 2021 11:35 am Published by

At Peek Dentistry, we always try to save a natural tooth whenever possible. But in some cases, extraction is the best choice for your health. In particular, many patients need their wisdom teeth removed due to overcrowding. A tooth extraction may also be necessary if a tooth is severely infected or decayed and cannot be saved with root canal therapy.

After a tooth is removed, you may have heard that a dry socket can occur. In this blog, we discuss what this is and steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing a dry socket.

What Is a Dry Socket?

When a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms in the empty socket. This is a good thing because the clot protects your nerve endings and the bone underneath. If that important clot fails to form or gets dislodged prematurely, you end up with a dry socket that’s vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

If you have a dry socket, you’ll most likely experience throbbing pain that can radiate throughout your face and jaw, a bad taste in your mouth, and/or persistent bad breath.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

If you need a tooth extraction, we’ll provide you with detailed instructions on how to take care of yourself. For example, here are some recovery tips:

  • Avoid Tobacco – If you’re a smoker or tobacco user, you should wait until you’re further along in the healing process (though we recommend quitting entirely for the sake of both your oral health and overall health!). Dragging on a cigarette can disrupt your blood clot. Additionally, nicotine suppresses your immune system, which will prolong your healing process.
  • Don’t Drink From Straws – Be sure to drink plenty of water, as hydration is critical for healing. However, straws are a big no-no after any type of oral surgery. This is because the sucking motion can easily dislodge your blood clot.
  • Eat Soft Foods – To protect your healing extraction site, stick to nutritious soft foods like bananas, mashed potatoes and baked sweet potatoes, smoothies, low-sugar yogurt, scrambled eggs, applesauce, and pureed soups.
  • Brush Gently – While you can start gently brushing around the extraction site after 24 hours, you should not spit or swish for several days. Be sure to brush your tongue every day!

Gentle Dental Care at Peek Dentistry

Our expert team will do our best to make your dental extraction experience as positive and stress-free as possible. If you have questions about the extraction process or what to expect during recovery, please contact us today!

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This post was written by Peek Dentistry

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