Dry sockets are an unenviable side effect of many wisdom teeth extractions, occurring in anywhere from 2-35% of wisdom teeth patients, depending on a wide variety of criteria. While that number may seem high in certain populations, there are actually a few precautions you can take to help prevent dry sockets from occurring in the first place.
Dry sockets, also known as alveolar osteitis, can be extremely painful. During a typical wisdom tooth extraction, the teeth is pulled, and a blood clot forms in the place of the former tooth. However, sometimes this clot can become dislodged or dissolve, leaving an empty and dry socket where the tooth used to be. This can present significant pain, as the underlying jawbone and nerves can become exposed to the elements of your mouth.
In an effort to help prevent dry sockets from occurring, patients can follow these simple rules:
1. Stop smoking or using tobacco products before and after the extraction.
2. Get plenty of rest immediately following the surgery. Take the day off from work and play in order to let your body heal.
3. Drink lots of water, but don’t consume alcoholic, hot, carbonated, or caffeinated beverages for at least 24 hours following the procedure.
4. Refrain from drinking from a straw for at least a week. The sucking action produced by a straw can work to dislodge the blood clots in your mouth.
5. On the day after the surgery, rinse your mouth with salt water every 2 hours and gently brush your teeth, making sure to avoid the extraction site.
6. Eat soft foods, such as yogurt, applesauce, or soup during the first day. Stay away from spicy, hot, chewy or hard foods for several days.
Following these post-extraction tips will help to decrease your risk of experiencing dry sockets following wisdom teeth removal. As always, risk factors are different for each patient, so be sure to discuss your dental and general health history, including the use of any medications, with your dentist before the procedure.
If you have any lingering questions about wisdom teeth extractions, or if you would like to schedule a dental exam, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.
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