Brush your teeth daily, crush your cavity— this tagline we listen from childhood. As we know, for us our teeth are more precious than other valuable things. But when you lost a tooth or replaced it with a socket then such a problem called— Dry socket.
In this post, we discuss its introduction, signs and symptoms, causes, treatment, prevention, home remedies, and some interesting question related to the topic.
What is a Dry Socket?
It is a painful dental condition after the permanent extraction of the tooth. Medically, a dry socket is known to be alveolar osteitis. So, when the reason for the pain is the loss of a tooth or some replacement sockets, it’s called a dry socket.
Statistically, around 2% to 5% of people who extracted their teeth could develop dry socket. This problem arises when the body can’t able to develop a blood clot at the site of tooth extraction or under the socket before the wound heals.
Due to this reason, it causes pain and other problems in vessels, nerves, and very rare in the bone area of the extracted tooth part. In addition, the problem arises after two to four days of tooth extraction.
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Causes of Dry Socket
The cause of a dry socket is very vast but only happens after the tooth extraction. And the culprit is the inability to form blood clots at the extracted tooth region. However, in a case where the bone is exposed, then there is a higher chance of getting an infection.
Moreover, there are other factors that can trigger dry socket, these includes:
Dry sockets are particularly associated with the extraction of lower wisdom teeth. This is because, they are relatively larger in size which, of course, needs more time to heal.
Additionally, the blood supply to the jaw region is considerably poor which could lead to a dry socket. And it can also develop due to irregular washing of the socket.
Smoking or Other Chemicals
If you’re a smoker, and after a tooth extraction you smoke cigarettes or tobacco, then there is a much higher chance that you could end up with a dry socket.
Other activities such as chewing tobacco or the use of some irritant also decrease the healing of the wound and also slows down the blood clotting.
Drinking a lot through a straw, spitting, vigorous brushing, or mouth washing could become the cause of alveolar osteitis.
Change in hormones during the menstrual cycle or women taking birth control pills, dense jawbone, or poor blood supply are some of the causes of this tooth condition.
One of the possible reasons for dry sockets is oral radiotherapy. As in radiotherapy, a high energy x-ray is used which may destroy the blood’s clotting. Hence, another reason for dry socketing.
Excessive force, or shivering during tooth extraction or socket placement can cause intense bruising that heals very slowly.
As a result, blood vessels get damages which prevent the formation of blood clots. However, they are common when an inexperienced surgeon performed a tooth extraction.
Signs and Symptoms of Dry Socket
These are the following signs and symptoms of a dry socket that people may experience after the tooth extraction:
- Severe pain in the jaw or mouth within a few days of tooth extraction
- Mild fever
- Partial or total loss of blood clots— which looks like an empty-looking socket.
- Pain and burning sensation while eating
- Visible bone in the socket
- Pain in areas such as the neck, ears, and eyes
- Bad breath or a foul odor
- Pus, or swelling in the mouth
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
Treatment for Dry Socket
The following are the treatments for the dry sockets that might be helpful to you to prevent infection. These are:
Oral hygiene: Keeping the mouth clean by carefully brushing teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash.
The following are the medicines that help to relieve pain or decrease inflammations:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Aspirin or Ibuprofen
- Narcotics: Vicodin or Norco
Topical Antiseptic: Destroys or prevents the growth of microorganisms on the skin that may cause infection.
Antibiotics: Stops the growth or kills bacteria.
Dietary Supplement: Works alone or in conjunction with other treatments to promote health.
Prevention From Dry Socket
With a few simple steps, you easily decrease the risk of getting dry sockets. These are the following tips that might help you in preventing dry sockets:
1. One should avoid smoking, before and after tooth extraction, for at least 7 to 10 days.
2. Women who take birth control pills, inform dentists before tooth extraction surgery to decrease any chance of complication.
3. Avoid using soft drinks or any spicy drinks of soup for at least a week. This would make ensure that your socket gets permanently healed.
4. Try not to use straw or spit. This is because during spitting and sucking there is a lot of pressure requires which could agitate the clotting.
5. After tooth extraction, for at least one time, have a check with your dentist.
Home Remedies for a Dry Socket
These are the following home treatments that can help to reduce the pain and symptoms of dry socket:
Rinse with Warm Salt Water
Use warm saltwater in the affected area, several times a day. This typically, helps to prevent and reduce the infection and eliminates bacteria.
Cold and Heat Therapy
After removing the teeth, keep the ice pack in the painful area for 15 minutes to reduce swelling. However, you can use warm washcloths to manage pain. Because heat may be most beneficial to soothe the pain caused by a dry socket.
Use Clove Oil
Cloves are considered very effective for teeth. Commonly, clove oil is used to reduce bacterial growth and treat mouth ulcers. This is because it contains eugenol, which has anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial benefits.
You can apply it, directly to the dry sockets using cotton wool. Despite this, clove oil has some side effects. Therefore, it is recommended to consult your dentist before using clove oil as a home remedy.
Teabags are not just for serving you a hot cup of tea, but it is a very effective home remedy for mouth pain. Teabags contain a natural antibacterial agent (tannic acid) that helps to reduce inflammation and pain.
In case of a dry socket, place a cold tea bag over the affected area for at least 15 minutes. In addition, it can be helpful in reducing bacterial growth and facilitate healing.
Castor oil is rich in vitamins and has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties that help to cure dental problems.
You can add castor oil to sterile gauze and place it over the dry socket for 20 minutes. With this, your pain and inflammation go away with minutes, and also helpful in managing the infectious agent.
By eating yogurt, the body not only gets other nutrients but also a good treatment for dry socket conditions. It is a type of natural antibiotic, which provides relief in this problem.
Turmeric is a very effective medicine and has its own anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. However, it treats the problem of dry socket very quickly and keeps the infection away.
So, with a glass of lukewarm water and add half teaspoon turmeric powder. Use this blend to clean the infected area. In addition, you can use mustard oil as a base instead of water to use turmeric -mustard oil paste to massage the affected area.
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The dry socket is a term to define a painful condition after the tooth extraction. In this condition, typically, the body fails to develop blood clots over the empty tooth space.
In addition, the pain gets worse and spreads to the ear, eye, temple, or neck region. However, common symptoms of dry socket include pain along with unpleasant taste, bad mouth odor, glandular swelling, and mild fever.
However, many risk factors could trigger dry sockets such as smoking, tobacco, drinking a lot through a straw, using birth control pills, and many more.
But in particular, preventing the socket area from developing an infection is very crucial. To prevent this, there are a number of prevention measures and home remedies that a person can use who is suffering from this dental condition.
Additionally, doctors usually prescribe medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Altogether, after a tooth extraction, the patient should go for an additional oral health check-up to minimize any threat of dry socketing.
Who is likely to get a dry socket?
Ans. A person is likely to have a dry socket after tooth extraction who typically smokes, has poor oral hygiene, uses birth control pills, pre-existing infections, or trauma.
What is the average healing time for dry socket?
Ans. The healing time or new granulation tissue typically takes 7 to 10 days to shape and cover the exposed socket bone.
Are there any post-operative instructions for dry socketing?
Ans. Postoperative guidance is normally given by dentists. These include avoiding smoking, taking the prescribed drug, not drinking through a straw, and avoiding hot fluids for 3 to 4 days.
What should I do if I believe I may have a dry socket?
Ans. If you have symptoms of dry socket, go to your dentist, immediately. However, a dry socket is easily curable. So, follow all the necessary prevention and prescribe antibiotics to reduce the symptoms of it.
Why is the blood clot “essential” for the healing dry socket?
Ans. The blood clot acts as a barrier to prevents fresh blood from getting any bacterial infections, unswallowed food, or other irritants.