After undergoing a tooth extraction or Wisdom teeth removal, people can find themselves dealing with a dry socket. Despite the symptoms that occur with dry sockets, they rarely occur after tooth extractions. However, it is best to know if you have a dry socket, and what to do if you do suffer from one. 

What Is A Dry Socket? 

A dry socket, also known as “alveolar osteitis,” is the result of the loss of a blood clot – the drying – in the extraction site. The socket will expose the bone underneath the tooth and can be quite painful until the tissue grows back over the bone. 

The Extraction Was Perfect – So What Caused My Dry Socket? 

There are three leading causes of a dry socket: 

  1. Bacteria – it is the most common cause, as bacteria tend to infect the area dissolving the blood clot early on. 
  2. Mechanical – drinking through a straw, smoking or aggressive rinsing and spitting can dislodge a clot.
  3. Biologic – individuals taking contraceptive pills might have a higher chance of developing dry sockets. 

It should be noted that dry sockets are more common in the lower jaw, wisdom tooth extractions, older patients, and teeth that were infected before surgery.

Biggest Question – How Do I Know If I Have A Dry Socket?

Symptoms of a dry socket usually consist of extreme, worsening pain, a bad odor coming from your mouth and a bad taste. The pain can often radiate to the ear, the jaw and the neck, depending on where the socket is in the mouth line. It typically occurs three to four days after the extraction. In some cases, you might start to feel better before getting worse, which might indicate the removal of the blood clot. 

The blood clot seals off the tooth after extraction. Medically accurate 3D illustration

However, as a dry socket is not an infection, it does not have any of the typical infection symptoms, such as swelling, redness, or fever. If you look at the extraction and do not see a normal clot that turns white as time goes on, you may not have a dry socket. But, for many people, dry sockets are difficult to see with the naked eye, so if you suspect that you have one, it is best to visit your local Airdrie dentist

How Your Airdrie Dentist Can Treat Your Dry Socket 

Dry sockets can be painful and frustrating, keeping you up at night, such is the extent of the pain. Seeking immediate dental care is, therefore, crucial for eliminating the socket and relieving your symptoms. 

Your Airdrie dentist can provide you with the following treatment, depending on your condition:

  • Flushing out the socket so that nothing is left in the extraction site 
  • Placing a medicated strip of gauze will be placed inside the extraction site, which will numb the area and relieve your pain. The severity of your pain and other symptoms will determine whether you need dressing changes and how often you need it
  • Self-care at home is also essential to ensure that the pain doesn’t worsen. Once the gauze is removed, you may need to flush out the socket again with a plastic syringe with a curved tip. If your dry socket is more severe, your dentist will provide instructions on how and when to add a new dressing at home. This treatment lasts 24-72 hours and will usually be repeated a few times while the socket is healing

Overall a dry socket takes between seven to ten days to repair itself. A small minority will experience pain for longer than a week. 

In some cases, dry sockets might heal on their own. However, it is advisable to get treatment to ensure that you do not delay healing or worsen the outcome.

For all your dental health needs in Airdrie, Airdrie Family Dentist by ConfiDENTAL is here to provide you with the support you need. We offer a range of dental services, including Speedy Smiles Braces, Invisalign, Cosmetic Dentistry, Orthodontics, Dental Restoration, General Dentistry, and Sedation Dentistry in Airdrie. If you are facing any dental issues, we have the services to provide you with the relief and care you need. We have created a comfortable, relaxing and kid-friendly environment, so you know you’re in good hands. Call us on 587-600-6051 or visit us at #101, 28 Gateway Drive NE, Airdrie.