Improving Your Smile With Implants: Preventing A Dry Socket

Posted on: 14 April 2015


The underlying health of your mouth, teeth, and gums is important, but the overall look of your smile is essential for your confidence level. Unfortunately, due to decay or infections, you may require an extraction on one or more teeth. While the procedure is necessary to prevent further dental damage, you can correct your smile with dental implants. However, painful dry sockets are common issues that may arise before you receive your implants. To continue on your cosmetic dentistry journey, proper recovery is imperative for preventing dry sockets.

The 101 on Dry Sockets

During a surgical tooth extraction, your dentist will make one or more incisions in the gum tissue surrounding the problematic tooth. After removing the tooth and suturing the incision, a blood clot will naturally form over the tooth socket. This clot protects the nerve endings and any exposed bone from food particles and bacteria. Unfortunately, certain problems may arise that cause the blood clot to come loose or dissolve, resulting in a painful dry socket.

You may experience the initial signs of a dry socket 3 to 4 days after a tooth extraction. Of course, the pain is the most common sign of a dry socket due to the exposed nerve endings. For most people, this pain radiates from the nerves, through the mouth, and across the face.

Recovery Instructions

After your tooth extraction, your dentist will give you detailed recovery instructions based on your specific needs. However, use the following tips to ensure an efficient, healthy recovery:

  • Rinse – Use an antibacterial mouthwash after your extraction. Rinsing a few times each day will rid the mouth of leftover food particles and bacteria.
  • Pressure – Apply pressure to the incision site with gauze even if there is no more bleeding. The gauze should stay in place a few hours after the extraction to ensure the blood clot forms correctly.
  • Rest – While minor, a tooth extraction is a surgical procedure, so ample rest is key for proper recovery. Avoid heavy exercise for a few days after the extraction.
  • Quit – Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco can damage the blood clot, resulting in a dry socket. Do not use tobacco products after your extraction.
  • Eat – Soft foods are best to eat the day of your extraction, but add different foods each day.
  • Drink – Stay hydrated with water, but avoid alcohol, coffee, and soda for a day after your extraction.

Treatment and Pain Relief

Developing a dry socket is unavoidable for many people. If you are experiencing pain after your extraction, contact your dentist immediately. Fortunately, there are treatment and pain relief options available.

To treat the actual dry socket, your dentist will first recommend flushing out the socket. This forces an antibacterial solution into the socket of your extracted tooth to remove food particles and bacteria from the incision site.

After a socket flush, you will most likely need prescription antibiotics to treat infections that may have already developed. If there is no presence of an infection, your dentist can help you treat the pain.

For fast relief at home, consider the following natural options:

  • Clove Oil – Massing a few drops of clove oil onto the extraction site is a great way to prevent infections and relieve pain. Not only is clove oil antifungal and antimicrobial, its antiseptic properties ease tense nerve endings to reduce dry socket pain.
  • Salt Water – A saline solution is an efficient way to rid the mouth of germs and bacteria. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water and rinse your mouth multiple times a day.

Extracting problematic teeth is necessary for preventing further damage to your smile, but proper recovery is key to avoiding the pain of a dry socket. Once your heal, you can continue on your dental improvements.