Have you ever been to a dentist in Corpus Christi for a wisdom tooth removal or any other tooth extraction and suffered excruciating pain a few days later? You might have suffered what is known as a dry socket—a problematic condition that is quite painful and occurs in a minor percentage of extraction procedures.
Any good dentist in Corpus Christi will give a guideline of post-extraction oral care to their patient but even with good care, sometimes it just happens. However, the good news is that you can reduce your risk of dry socket with some detailed proactive measures and a little insight on the post-extraction recovery process.
What Is A Dry Socket?
A dry socket is a cavity or hole that results from having a tooth extracted. Even though dry socket occurs in less than 5% of tooth extractions, it is an experience you remember, it’s painful and here’s why.
When you have to forcibly remove a tooth rather than it falling out naturally, it leaves a divot in the jawbone where the root used to be. When teeth fall out naturally there is barely a visible socket as it happens gradually and the jawbone has time to heal outward, filling in the cavity.
In the early history of dentistry, dry sockets just left to heal naturally which led to a blot clot in the divot which would be followed by new growth of bone and new gum tissue. That would normally leave your mouth back to normal in about a week.
The problem with blood clots is that they are unpredictable and that can lead to unexpected complications of a serious nature. Clots can slip out of the divot causing infection or abnormal bone growth. Also, without clots, excruciating pain can set in usually within just 48 hours. Due to the severe pain dentists in Corpus Christin use preventative measures to mitigate the chance of dry socket. However, if you find yourself suffering dry socket, visit your Corpus Christi dentist right away.
How Do You Tell If You Have A Dry Socket?
Dry socket is normally accompanied by a radiant severe pain that throbs at the extraction point and through the gums. It literally makes eating and drinking anything at all impossible. Even worse than that it can get worse and cause swollen gums, build up of pus in the divot and exposed jawbone.
Even though dry socket seems like it is mortally painful, it is important to disclose that it is in no way life-threatening and can be resolved easily and quickly—especially if caught at the onset.
Treating Dry Socket
The first thing you want to do is schedule an appointment with a great dentist in Corpus Christi like Vela Dental centers. An experienced and skilled dentist will need to take a more in-depth look at the dry socket and will likely use an irrigator to flush any bacteria away from the socket. Once that is complete, a special gel is injected into the socket to stimulate healing and new tissue growth. You might need to make several follow-up visits depending on the severity—but you should see progress rather quickly. If the dentist has some concerns about infection and your health, they might also prescribe antibiotics and minor pain medicine such as Tylenol. Managing the pain with the combination of antibiotics and pain medicine will help reduce inflammation and give you comfort to rest which will speed up the healing. Typically you should be healed up within 7-10 days from the time of treatment.
Preventing Dry Socket
Most dentists in Corpus Christi will stuff a cotton ball or medical plug into the socket immediately following an extraction. This works in two ways—it keeps you from biting down accidentally on the socket and also keeps food and other particles out of it. In some special circumstances, your surgeon may stitch the area around the socket for faster and stronger healing. This is typically accomplished with stitches that dissolve on their own after about two weeks at the most.
Depending on your situation and which dentist in Corpus Christi you go to—bone grafts with synthetic bone material can also be a great way to heal a dry socket faster. Although blood clots are a natural part of the healing defense systems—grafts allow better positioning than a plug. There are also some things you can do as well to avoid dry socket such as:
Don’t Touch The Area
When that gum tissue is trying to heal, keep in mind blood clots are very fragile any poking or prodding around is going to prevent that clot and introduce bacteria from your fingers. Direct contact with food, drinking through a straw, spitting or even using mouthwash can keep a clot from forming. Just remember it’s a very fragile area for a while and better to be overly cautious than reckless.
Don’t Lie On Your Back
After your extraction, do not lie flat on your back. It can cause the blood clot to form irregularly and also slide right out of the socket. Try to remain upright at all times and sleep in a slightly inclined position if possible.
No Strenuous Activities Or Sports
Your nightly gym workout or company softball league will have to be put on hiatus while you heal. This one is pretty obvious, but these activities can cause the clot to slide out and causing a dry socket.
No Brushing Teeth For Four Days
The only time you will hear a dentist in Corpus Christi tell you not to brush your teeth— but it’s true. Using a toothbrush near the extraction site can cause severe damage and even remove the clot. Once you are fully healed you may return to normal brushing routines.
Tobacco products not only are bad for your overall health but they also dry out your mouth and slow down healing. We recommend for the duration of the recovery process you do not use any tobacco products for at least 24 hours following the extraction.
Do You Need An Extraction In Corpus Christi?
If you have never been to a dentist in Corpus Christi and are dry socket concerns you but still need an extraction—contact Vela Dental Centers today. We take pride in our high standards of dental care and the relationships with our patients. Our founder, Dr. Benjamin Vela is educated and highly skilled in many disciplines and is ready to care for all of your dental care needs. Contact us today for a consultation!