Having a tooth removed entirely—because of extensive decay, damage, or some other reason—can be more than just a smile-changing event. Whether you replace the tooth or not, extraction can affect your daily life and your well-being.
Like many others, this minor surgical procedure comes with risks, and the most common is a condition called dry socket. But what is it, and how can you prevent it from happening to you? You will find out if you keep reading!
What Is Dry Socket?
Dry socket is a complication after a tooth extraction. This infection occurs when the vulnerable surgical site and nerves are exposed to bacteria in the mouth without protection. As you might imagine, dry socket is very painful and can prolong the healing process significantly. The pain can radiate into your eye, ear, or neck on that particular side of your face and cause a slight fever.
How Nature Fights Dry Socket
Fortunately, your body naturally provides a way to protect against dry socket. After tooth extraction, the site will bleed a little bit, and a blood clot forms. Once this clot is in place, it shields the healing tissues from bacteria. In other words, as long as the clot is there, your chances of experiencing dry socket decrease substantially.
Within in the first day or two following an extraction, the blood clot can easily be dislodged. In fact, even the simple motion of sucking on a straw provides enough force to remove the clot, which leaves the site uncovered and susceptible to dry socket.
How to Prevent Dry Socket
If you want to avoid a painful infection after tooth extraction, you must follow your dentist’s instructions. They will likely advise you to do these important actions:
- Avoid smoking for at least 48 hours after the surgery
- Do not use a straw for at least 48 hours
- Eat soft foods (like scrambled eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, and the like) for a couple of days
- Stay away from hard, crunchy foods such as chips and nuts
- Rest for a few days and refrain from rigorous activities
All of these tips can ensure that the blood clot stays in position, helping you heal more quickly without complications.
If you take your dentist’s instructions seriously and follow them, you can recover from extraction as smoothly as possible and start a new chapter for your smile. For more information about dry socket and the aftermath of a tooth extraction, you can talk more with your dentist before you undergo the procedure.
About the Practice
The two dentists at Pioneer Greens Dentistry have been practicing for multiple decades now. As a result, husband-and-wife team, Dr. Chris Haag and Dr. Claire Haag, have had many years of advanced training and experience in tooth extractions. They make sure each patient understands why treatment is necessary and aftercare instructions so that they can recover from procedures with as little discomfort as possible. To schedule an appointment at Pioneer Greens Dentistry in Lincoln, reach out to the practice online or call 402-483-7502.