Dry socket: Symptoms and Treatments
Have you ever had a painful sensation after a tooth extract that wouldn’t go away? This is a concern called ‘dry-socket’.
This condition is considered a common complication of tooth extraction. It shouldn’t be confused with the regular, mild pain a person feels after a root canal. It’s unbearable and needs fast medical attention.
In this post, we will look into the details of what constitutes a dry socket, what are its symptoms and how you can get an effective treatment.
What is a Dry Socket?
Dry socket or ‘alveolar osteitis’ takes place when a blood clot doesn’t create at the place where the tooth is extracted. It may also be because it dislodges and dissolves before the wound heals completely.
Now, you might think all this sheer pain because of a blood clot failure? Is it really that a big a deal?
Yes it is.
The blood clot serves many purposes, including:
- It acts as a protective layer around the wound
- Protects the underlying bones and the nerves
- Provides the foundation for new bone growth
- Develops soft tissue around and over the cloth
Now, We will look into how this dilemma happens in the first place.
How does a dry socket happen?
There may be one or more of the below reasons as to why you a proper blood clot doesn’t form.
If you are already facing certain infection of the mouth before the extraction procedure, it will impact and not allow for a proper blood clot to form.
If you are smoker, you have a high amount of nicotine in your body. This causes for a decrease in the bloody supply in the mouth.
Aggressive Rinse or Sucking:
Sucking aggressively through straw impacts the blood clot. It can cause dislodgement. Even spitting, or rinsing affects the blood clot.
If you have a high history of jaw concerns like dense jawbone or poor blood supply, these will impact your mouth’s ability to create a blood clot.
Oh’ the pain…
It is sometimes considered as the most painful mouth pain you can have.
The underlying exposed nerves and tissues are irritated and the pain can easily spread across the side of your face.
To top it off, if you get food stuck in that area, the pain intensifies more.
What’s worse, the area can become inflamed making the discomfort unbearable.
Let’s look into how you can determine whether it’s a regular toothache or is the pain due to something far more serious and needs due attention:
Dry Socket Symptoms to Watch Out For:
- You are having extreme pain even days after the tooth extraction procedure was done with
- There has been partial or major blood loss where the blood clot was supposed to take place. You will see that there is an empty (dry) socket in that area.
- A bone is distinctively visible in the socket
- The pain you are experiencing is spreading out in not just the mouth area. It is extending towards your ear, eye, neck and even the side of your face.
- Constant bad breath is coming from your mouth, which isn’t getting better despite teeth brushing
Unpleasant taste in your mouth is making you sick. Again brushing or mouth rinsing isn’t helping much
Can I Prevent a Dry Socket?
Interestingly this is one procedure in which you can’t do much but your dentist can- to protect your tooth from having a dry socket. The following suggestions should be implemented by your dental surgeon or discussed with the dental specialist before the procedure.
Two preventive ways that can be adapted are:
- Placement of a packing with antibiotics
- Making use of sutures so to protect the blood clotting
However it is only your surgeon who can advise if these are suited to you, depending on your dental history.
A few things you can do:
- Don’t smoke or at the very decrease it
- Sucking hard on a straw can cause blood dislodgement
- Don’t do vigorous rinsing after every meal
- Try to eat soft food diet
- Keep your area as clean as possible
- Use antibacterial mouthwashes
- Aside from this, adapt any special recommendations your dentist will give
- Also for women, according to recent studies, they have a lower chance of developing a dry socket during their menses
Great Home Remedies for Dry Socket
While sometimes it may seem the condition has gone way out of hand. And you would need medical assistance where the doctor will subscribe over-the-counter medications to subdue the pain.
Usually that isn’t the case and you can try some home remedies at home.
These techniques exist to make your pain bearable and in no way signify that they are a complete treatment of a dry socket as you will need to have regular visits with the doctor after a tooth extraction procedure.
This is to ensure that the wound is healing properly.
What are the home techniques to adapt?
Rinsing with Salt Water
One of the easiest and most effective ways to help your wound to heal and soothe the pain is by gently cleaning the extraction area with warm salt water.
To make this salt water, you will :
- get 8 ounces of warm water
- add half teaspoon of Himalayan Salt
- mix them properly until salt is dissolved
- pour into mouth and spit
- repeat a few times
Honey has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It can reduce the pain and inflammation in the mouth due to dry socket.
It is used for treating wounds and there are no side effects to using it.
How you can make use of honey for this purpose is by putting a little honey on gauze and then placing the gauze on the dry socket. Repeat treatment with fresh gauze every time.
Compression of warm/cold towels:
This is an age-old remedy that works great whenever needed. Simply make use of a towel and make use of cold or hot compresses against your cheek, not inside of the mouth.
It is suggested by surgeons that warm towels work better for subduing pain after a tooth extraction.
Applying essential oils
They don’t just smell nice. They have many benefits. Essential oils including clove, oregano and tea tree actually help in improving the condition of the dry socket.
It relieves the pain. You can also mix the essential oils with coconut oil for maximum affect.
While these oils do hold antibacterial properties, you shouldn’t make it a habit to use them often.
Tea bags for dry socket
If you go to the market and look for tea bags, you will find there are so many. Interestingly all of them are benefitting for reducing inflammation of a dry socket. To get best results, make use of a wet tea bag against the tooth socket for pain relief.
Remember- it will only impact if you make use of real tea from tea leaves, and not herbal tea.
Am I more susceptible to a Dry Socket?
Looking into ways in which you can take care of your affected area ‘after’ the treatment, shows that those falling in the category are also more vulnerable to it. Examples smokers who have a high history of smoking are more likely to develop a dry socket.
Those who use oral contraceptives also have a higher chance of developing the condition.
It is important to adapt certain tactics to keep your teeth all clean and bright. This doesn’t just give you a beautiful smile; it will help you in all teeth-related issues. Good oral hygiene goes a long way. Adapt them on a regular basis and they will serve in great ways when you go for such dental procedures like tooth-extraction. Some other common concerns many people have are:
If left untreated, can it heal on its own?
A dry socket is actually a wake-up call. You can that excruciating pain because the blood clot failed and you need to do something about it.
This isn’t the time for the wound to be left untreated. The bones and nerves are exposed and need medical attention.
Warning: If you leave it untreated on the basis that the pain will subdue in a few days. it can lead to further infection and other complications.
So instead of taking risks, it is advisable that you get medical attention and advice right away.
How Long Does Dry Socket Last?
Regardless of how badly your blood clot is affected, the healing time can stretch longer even especially if an infection has happened and it becomes hard to imagine that it will ever get better.
Again, you must adapt timely treatments as it will significantly reduce the healing time and reduce the risk of infections.
Diagnosis of a Dry Socket:
Dentists typically suspect dry socket when a person experiences severe pain three days after having a tooth removed. They can confirm the diagnosis simply by looking at the spot where the tooth used to be.
In rare cases, your dentist might take an X-ray (a test that provides images of the mouth bones) to make sure no tooth fragments were left behind.
Get to the Pain, Don’t Delay
Your oral care is important. Look at the smallest details to determine if all is going well or no. If you had a tooth extraction procedure and feel pain which isn’t subduing, pay attention.
Normal pain can go away on its own; however pain which is due to a dry socket needs due medical attention. Get it sorted before it leads to something worse like intense inflammation or infection.
Your optimum health is in your hands.