When you have a tooth removed for one reason or another, your mouth will develop a blood clot over the area that it was removed from. This blood clot is your body’s way of protecting your mouth from infection and helping it to heal correctly.
Some of the most common times that individuals will develop dry socket are after they’ve gotten their wisdom teeth removed. Avoiding dry socket is something you’ll want to try and do your very best at. Dry socket is an extremely painful sore in your mouth.
What is Dry Socket?
To experience dry socket, the blood clot that’s in your mouth after a tooth is removed will become dislodged. When this happens, it’s known as dry socket. It can be extremely painful and prevents the healing process from taking place as quickly as it otherwise wood.
The blood clot that forms should stay in place and not be removed in order to protect your bone, nerves, and gums. So not only is it uncomfortable if that blood clot becomes dislodged, but it could also cause further complications.
Here are the top tips for how to avoid dry sockets:
How to Avoid Dry Socket
There are quite a few ways that you can try to avoid dislodging that blood clot. Not all of them will be applicable to everyone, but take note of each of them.
Straws are one of the most common ways that people develop dry sockets. Often when using a straw, it’s hard to control how quickly liquid enters your mouth or where the liquid will go when it does enter your mouth.
You won’t have to avoid those Starbucks straws for long. After roughly a week, you should be able to get back to using your favorite straw. But, as with all of these tips, be sure to speak with your dentist and listen closely to their advice.
Avoid Smoking, Alcohol and Chewing Tabacco
Smoking has never been good for your oral health, and that’s true during the recovery of your tooth extraction as well. Your chances of getting a dry socket go up by 3x if you smoke after tooth extraction. One of the reasons this happens is because of the fast inhalation that occurs during smoking. It would be best if you tried to avoid all smoking during recovery.
Alcohol needs to be avoided because some of the effects of alcohol on your body encourage bleeding and can delay healing. In many ways, alcohol can relax your body too much and keep it from healing the way that it should.
Finally, chewing tobacco should be completely abstained from as well. Continuously chewing, sucking, or spitting can cause your blood clot to become dislodged.
Avoid Hard Foods that Need To Be Chewed
Hard foods like apples, carrots, chips, some meats, nuts, and more should be avoided during recovery. Truly any food that needs to be chewed for an extensive amount of time is one that you should avoid. Try to stick to soft foods or foods that require the least amount of chewing possible. Here are some foods that are good to eat when you’re trying to recover from tooth extraction
- Ice Cream
These are just a few of the great options that you can eat! Check out the full list here!
Ask Your Dentist about Your Medications
Certain medications can have an impact on your blood’s ability to clot. If you’re on different medications that you know of that thin your blood or could cause any problems, be sure to talk with your dentist.
Even if you’re sure that your medication doesn’t thin your blood, it’s important that you make your dentist aware of all of the medication that you’re using.
Maintain Proper Oral Care
Proper oral care is key to keeping any mouth healthy but especially a mouth that is recovering from any sort of operation. In order to keep a low risk of developing dry socket, you’ll want to brush your teeth regularly but carefully. Brushing two times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, is still the ideal, but avoid brushing too closely to your blood clot because of the problems it might cause if it were to dislodge it.
Flossing is also just as important after tooth extraction as it is before. Keeping your mouth clean will help to prevent bone and nerves from becoming infected by bacteria that builds up from not properly cleaning your teeth. Here are some flossing tips to help you get started with good flossing habits.
Avoid Strenuous Physical Activity
Trying to keep from being too physically active can be a challenge. In order to help your mouth heal up in the fastest time and best way, you’ll have to take it easy for a few days. Tooth extraction is hard on your body, and if you’re going to keep from developing a dry socket, don’t do too much physical activity that could cause your blood clot to be jolted loose.
Symptoms of Dry Socket
If you think you might have a dry socket, here are some of the symptoms and signs to look for.
One of the most common ways to tell if you have dry socket is to look into your mouth with a mirror. If, when you’re looking into your mouth, you see a bone where your tooth was before the tooth extraction, then probably have a dry socket.
Two other common symptoms are bad breath and a bad taste that lingers in your mouth over time. If you start to experience any of these types of symptoms, then be sure to contact your dentist right away! There are treatments that your dentist will need to provide if you have developed a dry socket.