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    Dry socket: What is it and how can I prevent it?

    Have you recently had a tooth extracted? One of the most common complications to watch out for is called a dry socket. Learning how to prevent a dry socket is important to your healing journey!

    What is a dry socket? 

    When you have a tooth extracted, a clot forms where it once was in order to protect the nerve underneath. If this clot becomes dislodged, the nerve becomes exposed to things such as food debris or bacteria, which leads to more discomfort. Leaving this untreated can eventually lead to an infection — signs of infection include new or worsening pain as well as running a fever. 

    Some of the most common causes of dry socket are: 

    • Smoking within 72 hours of surgery. 
    • Eating hard or crunchy foods. 
    • A pre-existing bacterial infection around the extracted tooth.
    • Pre-existing history of dry sockets. 

    How can you prevent a dry socket?

    There are a few steps you can take to help lower your risk of developing a dry socket: 

    • Avoid smoking after surgery – Smoking can slow the healing process down and also dislodge the clot. 
    • Don’t drink out of a straw – The sucking action when drinking through a straw can cause the clot to become dislodged, so it’s best to avoid straws until the site is fully healed. 
    • Eat soft foods – Hard foods can disrupt the clot and knock it out of place, so be sure to stick to soft foods like mashed potatoes, apple sauce, or soup.
    • Follow post-surgery instructions from your doctor.   

    How do you treat a dry socket?

    When it comes to treating a dry socket, your dentist or surgeon will typically thoroughly clean the site before placing a medicated dressing in the socket. In the event that an infection is present, antibiotics may be prescribed as well. If you suspect you may have a dry socket, it’s important to contact your dentist or surgeon and get an appointment scheduled. The quicker you get it taken care of, the better you will feel!

    If you’ve recently had an extraction and have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re here to support you throughout your healing journey.