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How to Prevent a Dry Socket

When you’ve had a tooth extracted, one temporary but painful complication is called dry socket, and it usually needs to be treated by your dentist. There are things you can do, though, that prevent dry socket from occurring, making your recovery quicker and easier.

Dr. Michael Nichols of Oral & Facial Surgery of Mississippi in Flowood sees many patients with broken and damaged teeth. While he always tries to restore them rather than extract them, sometimes tooth extraction becomes necessary. Here’s what he wants you to know about dry socket and what you can do to avoid it.

Extraction and dry socket

Why would you need a tooth extraction? Some possibilities include:

Whatever the reason, if Dr. Nichols decides that pulling your tooth is the best option, he does it as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

After he removes your tooth, a blood clot forms in the gum tissue of the socket where the tooth was located. Clot formation is a necessary step of the healing process, as it protects the underlying bone, tissues, and nerves. If, for some reason, the blood clot doesn’t form, or if it becomes dislodged, the bone and nerves become exposed, which leads to a great deal of pain and other symptoms. This condition is medically called alveolar osteitis, but is commonly known as dry socket.

The symptoms of dry socket

Symptoms can vary in type and intensity from one person to the next, but usually include:

Obviously, since you just had a tooth removed from your jawbone, you can expect a certain amount of pain, but if you experience severe or worsening pain, especially pain that radiates, it’s not normal. This pain may start immediately after the extraction, or it may pop up within a few days. Call Dr. Nichols as soon as you notice the symptoms so he can clean and protect the area.

How to prevent a dry socket

Dr. Nichols, of course, gives you aftercare instructions, but it’s your responsibility to prevent dry socket from happening once you leave the office. Here are some tips:

If you think you may need a tooth extracted, and you want to learn more about best oral health practices, give Oral & Facial Surgery of Mississippi a call at 601-282-9290 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nichols, or book online with us today.

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