Dry socket slows down healing after tooth extraction and can lead to further complications, and may affect up to 5% of patients after an extraction. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid as long as you take proper care of your mouth after your tooth is removed. In this guide from Poulos & Somers in Denver, we’ll discuss the basics of dry socket, and how you can avoid it.
What Is Dry Socket, And Why Do I Need To Avoid It?
Dry socket is a painful condition that may occur after tooth extraction. After your tooth is pulled, a blood clot will immediately begin to form in the socket. This acts as a “scaffold” for gum tissue, blood vessels, and other oral tissue. Basically, it helps ensure that your mouth heals properly.
Dry socket happens when this blood clot is damaged or dislodged. This exposes the socket, slows down healing, and could even lead to an infection. For all of these reasons, it’s very important to avoid dry socket. Keeping your blood clot intact will speed up healing, reduce pain, and eliminate potential complications.
Our Tips For Avoiding Dry Socket After Tooth Extraction
Many of the aftercare tips recommended after extraction are meant to help you avoid dry socket. Here are a few of the most important things you should know to avoid dry socket:
- Avoid straws & forceful spitting for at least 2 days – Sucking on a straw or spitting forcefully puts lots of pressure on your blood clot. This can knock it out of place and cause dry socket. Avoid using straws for 2 days, and don’t spit forcefully.
- Avoid brushing the extraction site for 3-4 days – Brushing the site directly can irritate and dislodge the blood clot when it’s still weak. You can brush your other teeth, but don’t brush the extraction site for a few days. You can gently rinse the site with salt water to keep it clean. After a few days, brush it very gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Eat liquid and very soft foods for up to a week – Crunchy and hard foods can damage or dislodge the clot. You’ll want to eat mostly liquid foods for a few days after your appointment, and then you can switch to soft foods like scrambled eggs. You can typically eat firmer foods after about a week. Crunchy, tough, and hard foods should be avoided for up to 2 weeks.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco for at least 2-3 days or longer – Using tobacco is a huge risk factor for developing dry socket. Tobacco users have a 3x higher rate of developing dry socket. This is a great time to consider quitting tobacco use!
Need A Tooth Extraction In Denver? Come To Our Office For An Appointment!
At Poulos & Somers, our dentists are here to help with any dental issue, no matter how complex. If you think that you may need one or more of your teeth to be extracted, get in touch for a consultation today. Dental implants are an ideal option for most patients after an extraction. You can contact us online, or give us a call at (303) 832-4867.
We practice conservative dentistry, so our dentists will examine your mouth and will only recommend tooth extraction if it’s your best option. Schedule today, and get the help you need in Denver.