Dry Socket

Dry Socket

Many people are unfamiliar with the term dry socket until it’s too late and they are experiencing this painful dental condition firsthand.  Today we want to tell you everything you need to know about dry socket so that you can be educated on what causes it and—more importantly—the ways you can prevent it from happening to you.


First, what is dry socket?  When someone has to have a permanent tooth extracted, the mouth should naturally make a blood clot where the tooth was removed.  The blood clot protects the exposed bone and nerves in the empty socket until tissue and bone eventually grow over the socket.  Dry socket occurs when the blood fails to clot, thus keeping the bone and nerves exposed.  This exposure not only creates immense pain, but it also allows germs and bacteria to get into the socket, causing even more discomfort and slowing down the healing process.


The good news is there are easy ways to prevent dry socket.  If you need to get a permanent tooth extracted, here are three simple steps you can take to ensure you do not get this painful condition.


  1. Be careful about what you eat and drink. The first three days after a tooth extraction are the most important, because this is when the blood clot should form.  Avoid hard or sticky foods to prevent bacteria from getting into the exposed socket, and drink plenty of water.  When drinking, don’t use a straw because the sucking motion could affect the clot.  It is also extremely important to avoid tobacco products.  Smoking will cause bacteria to get into the socket which could prevent the blood from clotting and slow down the healing process.


  1. Take it easy. Like we said, the first three days are crucial in the healing process because this is when the blood clot will form and will protect the exposed socket.  Take plenty of time to rest and relax and avoid any strenuous activity that could negatively impact your mouth.


  1. Practice good dental hygiene. It is okay to brush your teeth after the extraction, but be extremely careful around the area where your tooth was extracted and avoid brushing in that area for the first 24 hours.  For the first day you should also avoid rinsing your mouth with mouthwash and even water as the clot forms.


If you are experiencing pain after a tooth extraction and think you may have dry socket, contact your dentist immediately.  Your dentist will be able to clean the area and help with the pain by applying a medicated paste to the exposed socket.  If you are looking for a dentist to help you with this issue, we would love to help you at Cornerstone Family Dentistry, so please make an appointment with us today!