Wisdom teeth removal is very common because most people don’t have enough room in their mouths to accommodate four more large molars. It’s important to take good care of your mouth after removal to avoid uncomfortable side effects like infection or dry socket.
What is Dry Socket?
When a tooth is removed, it leaves behind an empty socket. This leaves nerves and bone tissue unprotected and vulnerable to infection. To protect the socket, a blood clot develops that fills the empty space where the tooth root used to be. Dry socket occurs when this clot become dislodged. Your oral surgeon will provide you with instructions on how to prevent this from happening, including:
- Eat only soft foods for a few days
- Avoid using a straw
- Don’t brush the area where the tooth was removed
- Rinse carefully with warm salt water to prevent infection
- Avoid smoking
If you experience any unusual symptoms after your tooth extraction, be sure to talk to your dentist. Symptoms that you may have developed dry socket include:
- The empty space where the tooth was looks white instead of dark red
- Persistent discomfort that can radiate into the jaw and ear
- A bad taste in the mouth or persistent bad breath
If left untreated, dry socket can develop into severe infection, so if you notice any symptoms, see your dentist as soon as possible.
Treatment for Dry Socket
If you have developed dry socket, your dentist or oral surgeon will treat it by cleaning the area and placing a special paste or a medicated dressing in the socket to help it heal. You’ll probably have to make frequent visits to the dentist to have the dressing changed over the next few days, until healing sets in. You may also receive a prescription for antibiotics, and you might need to use a prescription mouthwash.
Once the socket has healed sufficiently, the bone and nerves will be protected by the new gum tissue that fills in the hole where the tooth was. As long as you receive treatment and are careful to follow your dentist’s instructions, your dry socket should heal successfully.
Do you have more questions? We’re here to help! Contact our office today to get more tips about wisdom teeth removal.