After an extraction of a tooth, it is necessary for a clot to form in the socket. The clot is imperative in your recovery, as it helps to protect the socket, stop the bleeding, aid healing and most important to prevent pain.
Dry socket is the term used to describe the inflammation that occurs when the blood clot that forms in the socket becomes dislodged or does not form properly. When the clot is lost or unformed, the open socket, including underlying nerves and bone are exposed.
If you have ever had dry socket, you know the symptoms. Approximately 3 days after your extraction, you will feel severe throbbing and pain, perhaps radiating into your ear and no amount of pain medications will relieve the pain. It is also possible for a foul odor or bad taste to occur.
The only relief for the pain of dry socket is to return to the office so that we may place an anesthetic paste onto the extraction site. This single application may not be enough, you may need to return to our office several times until the blood clot reforms
Although dry socket is quite common, there are ways to prevent it. Some of these are:
- Not touching the extraction site, either with your tongue or your fingers
- Not rinsing for the first 24 hours
- Avoiding anything that may cause you to ‘suck’ out the clot (this includes drinking from a straw or smoking)
At Palmetto Family Dentistry, you will receive a thorough and complete list of instructions and directions for post extraction care.