A tooth extraction can be an unpleasant experience for anyone. However, this feeling of discomfort can become a lot worst when certain complications arise. While it may be uncommon, a significant number of dentistry patients end up developing a dry socket. Still, for that small part of the population, the occurrence of a dry socket can be extremely painful.
An extraction leaves behind an empty socket that should clot to protect the area underneath the tooth that has been pulled. A dry socket develops when a blood clot is dislodged or fails to properly form, leaving the nerves and bone exposed to anything that enters the mouth. Unless properly treated, a dry socket can cause excruciating pain and eventually lead to an infection. Symptoms include throbbing pain that continues to intensify in the days following the extraction and a foul odor and taste coming from the empty socket.
According to a study published by The Open Dentistry Journal, there are several factors that increase a patient’s risk to develop a dry socket. The occurrence of dry sockets is more common for smokers. Surgical tooth extraction, which is required in cases involving an impacted wisdom tooth, also increases the risk of dry sockets. Patients can also impede the formation of a blood clot by constantly rinsing their mouths after an extraction. Drinking through a straw can also complicate natural recovery.
The only way to treat a dry socket is to ensure that the affected area is properly healing. Dentists will clean the affected socket to remove any debris that could cause infection and then fill the hole with a specialized dressing. They will typically prescribe certain medications to prevent infection. They might also suggest nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to help ease any discomfort caused by pain.
Dry sockets are easily preventable with the help of an experienced dentist. It’s important for dentists to dialogue with their patients and provide an individual and specialized course of action.