Patients who have their wisdom teeth removed should follow their oral surgeon’s advice to avoid this painful complication
Sure, a dry socket sounds bad, but you should know it feels worse.
Having your wisdom teeth removed has become a safer process, but this is only when the procedure is performed by a trained oral surgeon. But one outcome, known as “dry socket,” can lead to serious discomfort and oral infection. Luckily, we have outlined a series of steps that, if followed correctly, will prevent dry socket from occurring.
A dry socket can happen soon after the wisdom tooth has been extracted. Within the empty tooth socket, a blood clot forms in the space and helps to protect the jawbone and nerves beneath. Rarely, that protective blood clot dissolves or dislodges one to three days after surgery. When the empty socket is exposed, this allows for bacteria to enter in the surgical site and infection may occur. The severe dry socket pain typically lasts up to a week. If that happens, you will need to contact your oral surgeon and they will help by cleaning the infected area. It may also be necessary to apply a healing ointment, and prescribe antibiotics.
Dry socket only happens to a small fraction of patients – about 1 in 20 at most. But we want to stress that you don’t be the 1 in 20! We recommend a series of steps to all of our patients before and after surgery, which is designed to ensure this condition doesn’t happen to you.
Before your procedure, we recommend:
- Let us know what kind of medication you are on
- Depending on your oral health, we may ask that you use oral antibiotics
- You may also be asked to use an antibacterial mouthwash
After your procedure, we recommend:
- Keeping your mouth clean. This can be accomplished by gently brushing the teeth. You will want to avoid swishing and spitting liquid out of your mouth
- You will want to rest for at least 24 hours after surgery, and avoid any strenuous exercise or activity for a week
- On the second day after the extraction, gently rinse with warm salt water every two hours and following meals
- It is important to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, and avoid any alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks and hot beverages for the duration of healing
- Do not use a straw for at least a week
- Eat soft foods to ensure proper healing, like thick soups, mashed potatoes, milkshakes, etc. until your surgical sites have healed
- Smoking or using any other tobacco is not recommended
If you are looking for a qualified, skilled, and specially trained oral surgeon to remove your wisdom teeth, we are happy to schedule a consultation appointment and answer your questions. Call us at (770) 531-1075 today!