It is normal for a patient’s mouth to be a little sore following wisdom teeth extractions in Houston. In most cases, the discomfort gradually diminishes, and you should be able to return to your normal routine with a few days to a week. But what if the extraction site is causing you extreme pain, or you aren’t healing as quickly as your oral surgeon said you would? It is possible that you have developed a condition known as dry socket. Let’s talk about what this problem is and how you can get back on the road to recovery.
Recognizing Dry Socket
After a tooth extraction, a blood clot forms over the surgical site; the clot helps to protect the bone underneath it, and it encourages your body to recover from your procedure. If that clot gets dislodged (or never forms properly to begin with), however, it exposes the bone and nerves, resulting in significant pain. Other symptoms of dry socket include:
- Persistent bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth
- An empty-looking socket or visible bone at the extraction site
- A low-grade fever or swollen glands
- Discomfort that spreads to other areas of the face, such as the jaw, eye, temple, or ear
Treating Dry Socket
Don’t expect dry socket to go away on its own. You should contact your oral surgeon in Houston and allow them to take a look at your mouth. Standard treatment involves washing out the socket with a saline solution that removes food particles and bacteria buildup. Then, they can use a special dressing (which will need to be replaced after a few days) to protect the socket and soothe the affected area. Pain medications might also be prescribed. If you diligently follow your surgeon’s orders for caring for the area, you can expect to recover from dry socket in about 7 – 10 days.
Preventing Dry Socket
You can reduce your risk of developing dry socket following your oral surgery in Houston if you:
- Avoid straws. The suction can disturb the blood clot.
- Do not smoke or use tobacco. If you inhale smoke too quickly, the air movement can dislodge the blood clot. The chemicals in tobacco products may also slow down healing.
- Eat soft food. For at least a day after your surgery, you should stick to eating soft foods, like soup, yogurt, and applesauce.
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions for oral hygiene. You may have to wait a day or so before you resume brushing your teeth. When you do start brushing, be extremely carefully around the extraction site.
Dry socket is a serious and painful condition. If you suspect you have it, contact your dentist or oral surgeon right away so you can receive treatment and get back on the road to a healthy smile.
About the Author
Dr. Steve L. Koo is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. He has served residents of the Houston community for many years. If you believe you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted, or you have questions about dry socket, you can contact Dr. Koo and the rest of our team at 713-783-5560.