Although it is not common, a dry socket is a serious dental problem that can cause many other severe dental complications. A dry socket usually occurs after the extraction of a wisdom tooth, but it can also happen after removing any other tooth. When a wisdom tooth has been extracted, a blood clot is expected to form in the empty socket to allow the wound to heal successfully.
This clot serves as the protective layer over the jawbone beneath it and the nerve endings. It also serves as the foundation for the development of the new bone and soft tissue over it. If this blot doesn’t develop or dislodged before the wound heals, you develop a dry socket. A dry socket results include penetrating pain, not just in the empty socket but also in the jaw and the affected side of the face. Moreover, the socket may become inflamed and filled with food particles, making the pain even worse.
The pain caused by a dry socket usually starts one to three days after the tooth extraction procedure. Aside from the pain, it would help if you also looked for other symptoms of a dry socket, including:
- Loss of the blood clot in the socket, which you can quickly notice by just looking at the socket
- Visible jawbone in the empty socket
- Bad breath even after brushing your teeth
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
Although painkillers will help you manage the pain, it is essential to see your doctor immediately, especially if the pain persists or excessive bleeding. It is also essential to ask your doctor for advice on how to prevent a dry socket. Here are some of the common factors that increase the risk of developing a dry socket.
Nicotine and other chemicals found in tobacco are known to prevent or slow down the healing process. They also contaminate the wound, causing severe infection. Furthermore, the act of sucking on a cigarette can easily dislodge the blood clot.
The high levels of estrogen found in oral contraceptives can interfere with the wound’s normal healing process and cause a dry socket.
After tooth extraction, your doctor will advise you on how to take care of the wound at home. If you don’t follow these instructions, you will end up with a dry socket.
Tooth and Gum Infectionse
Any previous or existing infections in and around the socket can increase the risk of getting a dry socket.