5 Tips for Avoiding Dry Sockets

Although your teeth are designed to last a lifetime, some teeth cause more harm than good and need to come out. Tooth extractions sound worse than they are, as modern medicine and advanced technologies have streamlined the procedure. However, if you develop dry socket after the tooth comes out, you may be in for more pain and a longer healing time than normal.

If you have a tooth that needs to be extracted, you can count on our team at OK Tooth in Midtown Manhattan, New York, to perform the procedure with minimal pain and maximum safety. We bring years of experience and advanced skill to our thriving practice. Our caring and friendly staff is dedicated to optimizing your dental health.

When it comes to tooth extractions, we know that the very thought may make you uncomfortable, so we do everything we can to inform you about the procedure so you know what to expect. One of the most important parts of a tooth extraction occurs after you leave our office.

What is a dry socket?

After a tooth extraction — whether you’ve had wisdom tooth removal or a decayed tooth taken out — a small clot of blood forms over the spot in your gums where your tooth once was. Think of it like a scab on a scraped knee. The blood clot protects the jawbone and nerves underneath and stays in place until your gums heal.

If that blood clot gets dislodged, it’s called alveolar osteitis or dry socket. This is not only painful because it exposes the tender tissues underneath, but it also slows down the healing time, extending your post-op discomfort. 

It’s important that you follow our after-care instructions diligently so you don’t end up with a dry socket. Here are five tips to help you sidestep this painful condition.

1. Don’t use a straw

We know it’s tempting to slip a straw between your lips to sip on something cool without having to open your sore jaw, but this is the worst thing you could do. The sucking action can pop the blood clot out of position and result in dry socket.

2. Avoid hard and crunchy foods

Skip the tacos and nuts after your tooth extraction and opt for softer foods like applesauce and mashed potatoes until you’ve healed. 

3. Don’t smoke

Smoking hinders healing, not just after a tooth extraction, but after any injury. It decreases the oxygen available to your healing tissues and increases inflammation. Plus, the action of inhaling, whether you smoke cigarettes or anything else, may dislodge the blood clot and give your dry socket. 

4. Clean carefully

Maintaining good dental hygiene as you recover from a tooth extraction is just as important as before, maybe even more so, because you have an open wound that’s susceptible to infection. 

However, you need to proceed carefully, as a toothbrush can easily remove the protective blood clot. We recommend rinsing gently, not swishing, with a mouthwash on the first day instead of brushing. We may even prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash to keep germs at bay.

5. Check your medicine cabinet

Certain medications that lower your body’s ability to clot blood may affect your healing rate. Some studies also show that there may be a link between oral contraceptives and dry socket, so make sure you let us know what medications you’re taking. 

If you need a tooth extraction, we can get you through the process easily and help you avoid dry socket so you can go back to eating and drinking normally. To schedule an appointment, give us a call or use our online request tool today.

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