A dry socket isn’t a common post-surgery complication, but it happens occasionally. A dry socket, technically known as alveolar osteitis, can occur after an adult tooth is extracted from the mouth. It occurs if the blood clot at the place the tooth was extracted gets lost.
Without a small, protective blood clot where the tooth was removed, nothing will stop the exposed bone and nerves from becoming infected. It’s easy to treat a dry socket, and care is recommended if noticeable pain develops in the area where the tooth came out.
You may have a dry socket if you experience severe pain, bad breath, or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Dry sockets can happen right after a tooth is extracted, or may develop several days later due to bacterial contamination or trauma.
There is a higher risk of having a dry socket if you smoke, take oral contraceptives, perform poor oral hygiene, or have pre-existing infections in your mouth. Make sure you pay close attention to the state of your mouth after a tooth extraction if you have one or more of these higher risks for developing a dry socket.
If this condition does occur after surgery, Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter can help by cleaning any debris that may have settled in the area. We can also provide a medicated gauze that should be changed regularly to help speed the healing process.
Antibiotics may be prescribed, depending on the infection, but Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can usually be sufficient to ease any pain.
If you think you might have a dry socket following oral surgery, please contact our Virginia Beach, VA office and let us know which symptoms you’re experiencing so we can assist you. To avoid getting a dry socket, make sure to get plenty of rest after surgery, drink lots of water, eat soft foods, and clean your mouth thoroughly.
We hope you never experience a dry socket, but if the situation does arise, you should be ready now!