What Are Dry Sockets?

If you need a tooth extraction, you might be thinking that it sounds ominous. At Michael Giovannini DDS though, our teeth extractions are performed with great care and you can feel confident that you are in gentle, yet capable hands.

extracted tooth on display

No matter if you are having a tooth pulled due to decay, wisdom teeth removal, or you are getting ready for dentures or implants, Dr. Giovannini and the team will make sure that you are comfortable through the entire procedure. Afterwards though, it’s important to be prepared for the recovery.

After Extraction

Usually after a tooth extraction, patients will experience some mild to moderate pain at the extraction site, the pain will typically lessen and eventually disappear over the next few days. If instead the pain increases, this could be a sign of dry socket.

What Is Dry Socket?

Technically termed alveolar osteitis, dry socket refers to the post-operative complication of having a tooth extracted. After an extraction, typically a blood clot forms over the empty tooth socket. If the blood clot fails to form or if it gets lost in the site, the condition known as dry socket occurs.

What Does the Blood Clot Do?

The blood clot that forms over the socket from where the tooth was extracted importantly protects the nerves and bone underneath the extraction site. Those with dry socket, without a blood clot, have their nerves and bone exposed to all that enters the mouth, which can result in extreme pain.

What Are the Signs of Dry Socket?

Your pain levels after a tooth extraction should always be tapering off, but if the pain at your extraction site gets increasingly worse, yours could be a case of dry socket. Sufferers of dry socket often complain of a foul taste near or around the extraction site, bad breath, and/or throbbing pain.

Is Dry Socket Common?

Dry socket occurs in about 2-5 percent of extraction patients. Although the experience of dry socket is not a pleasant one, the condition is easily treated. If you think you have dry socket, call our office at the first sign!

How Can I Treat Dry Socket?

  • Take a NSAID, like ibuprofen or aspirin to help lessen the pain.
  • At your appointment with Dr. Giovannini, he will clean out the socket and fill it in with a special dressing to help stimulate healing. You may need to come back to the office more than once so that we can be sure the socket stays clean and free of infection. Dr. Giovannini may choose to prescribe an oral antibiotic to prevent infection.
  • How Can I Prevent Dry Socket?

    Smoking is a major contributor to dry socket, so it’s best to steer clear of cigarettes, cigars, and any other tobacco products for at least a day or two after your extraction. Also avoid drinking through straws and spitting for the first couple of days after your procedure, as these activities can dislodge a healthy blood clot and result in a case of dry socket.

    Another big factor in avoiding dry socket is to attend all of your follow up appointments with Dr. Giovannini and our friendly team! If you think you have a case of dry socket following a tooth extraction, please contact our office immediately.

    Feel free to ask our team any additional questions about dry socket or oral surgery.

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