Every year, 5 million Americans have their wisdom teeth removed. You might’ve been lucky in previous years, but it’s finally time for you to go through a wisdom tooth extraction.
One thing you’ll want to watch out for afterward is dry socket. What is dry socket? This is where the healing blood clot doesn’t form correctly or gets dislodged, which can leave you prone to infection and other problems.
Here are the steps you need to take to avoid getting dry socket after dental surgery.
What to Do Before Your Tooth Extraction
If you use tobacco products (both smoking and chewing), you should try to quit beforehand. Not only is this better for your health anyway, but it’ll help with healing.
You should also consult with your dentist about the medications you’re currently on. If they notice something that might interfere with healing, you should then consult with your doctor about ceasing or decreasing those meds.
What to Do After Your Tooth Extraction
Thankfully, preventing dry socket is pretty easy to do. Don’t eat or drink anything hot and keep your diet to soft foods (no crunchy things like popcorn).
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol and soda. And when you’re drinking beverages, don’t use a straw. This can dislodge your blood clot.
You should still take care of your teeth and gums, which means you can brush your teeth, taking care to be gentle around the extraction site. But don’t rinse or spit for 24 hours after your extraction. Again, these are actions that might dislodge your blood clot.
Lastly, you should avoid strenuous activity for about a week.
Signs of Dry Socket
What if you’ve done everything recommended here but you still suspect that you have dry socket? Here are some of the common symptoms of dry socket you need to look out for:
- Missing blood clot
- Bad smell and taste in your mouth
- Pain going from your tooth socket that goes to the eye, ear, or neck (on the same side)
- Severe pain
If you notice any of these symptoms and your pain gets worse and/or severe, you need to contact your dentist. Learn more here.
Also, note that there are some risk factors that can make dry socket more likely. If you smoke, are on the birth control pill, are taking blood clotting medications, or have a history of poor dental health, you might be more prone to getting dry socket.
Decrease Your Chances of Getting Dry Socket
By knowing how to take care of yourself after a tooth extraction, and knowing what the symptoms of dry socket are, you can keep this condition at bay.
Of course, prevention is key, but it’s not a guarantee. If you feel like anything’s going wrong, the best thing to do is to get in touch with your dentist to discuss your symptoms and how to move forward.
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