After a tooth extraction, whether it’s a wisdom tooth or not, a protective blood clot forms over the extraction site. This blood clot covers your bone and nerves as your mouth heals.
But if this blood clot becomes dislodged, you might develop a painful condition known as dry socket. Mehrnoosh Darj, DDS, and her experienced team at Dr. Darj Dental in El Paso, Texas, want you to know that you can reduce your risk of dry sockets after a tooth extraction by following these five tips.
1. Avoid using straws
Soft foods, such as applesauce, smoothies, shakes, soups, and scrambled eggs, are easier to eat while your mouth heals. It might be tempting to use a straw when drinking a smoothie or a shake, but using a straw is a big risk factor for developing dry socket.
That’s because the suction produced by using a straw can dislodge the clot. Instead, take slow, gentle sips — sans straw.
2. Stop smoking
Just as using a straw can dislodge a clot, so can inhalation while smoking. This applies to smoking and vaping 一 anything that requires the fast inhalation of air. Smokers are 12% more likely to have dry sockets than a non-smoker.
Smoking cigarettes poses another problem: Studies show that the tobacco can delay healing at your extraction site. If you’ve been thinking about quitting smoking, consider oral surgery a good time to jumpstart smoking cessation.
3. Avoid crunchy food at first
Eating hard or crunchy foods like tortilla chips can increase your risk of dry socket. Not only can food debris get stuck in the extraction site, but pointy pieces of food can poke or dislodge the blood clot.
4. Maintain good oral hygiene
Keeping your mouth clean is the best way to reduce your risk of infection, but carefully following your discharge instructions can also prevent dry socket. Keep these oral hygiene tips in mind after your extraction:
- Avoid spitting for the first 24 hours after your extraction
- Use prescription mouthwash or antiseptic rinses if prescribed
- Don’t scrub the extraction site with your toothbrush
- Use gauze as directed
- Take any prescribed antibiotics as directed, and finish the entire dose
If you notice any signs of an infection, don’t wait for the infection to worsen before reaching out to us. Signs of infection include fever, foul-smelling breath, pain, and swelling.
5. Take care of yourself
Anytime your body is healing, whether it’s from a tooth extraction or another procedure, it’s important to allow your body time to rest and recover. Staying hydrated, resting, and eating nourishing meals are small but effective ways to support your body.
We can treat dry socket
Dry sockets cause intense pain, a visibly missing blood clot, and bad breath 一 but they’re treatable. At Dr. Darj Dental, we encourage you to call us if you suspect you have dry socket so you can get relief as quickly as possible.
Dry socket treatment may require us to flush out the socket and apply medicated bandages. We may also recommend taking pain medication.
For all of your dental care needs or to schedule a visit, call our office at 915-213-4097. You can also request an appointment through our online portal.