3 Tips To Prevent A Dry Socket After An Extraction

Posted on: 1 March 2018

You may be surprised to learn a tooth extraction is a type of surgical procedure because one or more small incisions need to be made. As with any procedure, there are risks involved. One of the most common issues that people face after an extraction is a dry socket.

Dry sockets occur if a blood clot does not properly form over the incision site after an extraction. The clot may never form, or the clot may dissolve or dislodge the tooth socket, increasing the risk of food and bacteria infecting the underlying roots and nerves. This painful infection starts around three days after an extraction, so learning preventative measures is imperative. Before your extraction, use this guide to learn simple tips for preventing a dry socket.

Incision Care

One of the most important steps you need to complete after an extraction is to continue applying pressure to the incision site. Your dentist will place a piece of gauze over the incision, which you will need to bite on gently. This pressure helps stop the bleeding, creating a clot over the incision that will be imperative for preventing a dry socket.

If the gauze is soaked with blood when you arrive home from the procedure, replace it with a new piece. Continue biting down to apply pressure, changing the gauze periodically.

Dietary Tips

Most people do not feel hungry after an extraction, but you will need to stay hydrated and nourished during your recovery.

Consume soft foods and liquids only during the first day or so after the extraction. Eating harder, sticky, crunchy, or chewy foods can loosen or damage the blood clot, increasing the risk of a dry socket.

Consider soups that contain more broth than meats/vegetables. Mashed potatoes, yogurt, and scrambled eggs are also good options, but make sure to take small bites of these foods.

When drinking, avoid straws, since the suctioning motion will affect the formation of the blood clot. Drink small sips of water from a glass or cup.

While not a part of your diet, avoiding certain habits is also smart during your recovery after an extraction. Do not smoke or use tobacco products, since both of these habits will dislodge the blood clot, resulting in a dry socket.

Oral Care

Lastly, you should continue routine oral health care during your recovery. When brushing, use gentle strokes of the toothbrush, avoiding the incision site. Use antibacterial mouthwash, as well. This will rid the mouth of food and bacteria while reducing the risk of an infection in the incision site. Make sure to use gentle swishing motions, though, since excessive swishing inside the mouth may be too harsh for the blood clot.

Living with a dry socket is possible, but it can be painful. These tips will help you avoid the painful dry socket after an extraction. Contact a dentist like Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA for more information and assistance.