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Dealing With Dry Socket

Dentist checkWhen most people have a tooth pulled, they experience a little discomfort for a couple of days. But if the pain persists and becomes more intense, then the individual might be suffering from a condition called dry socket or alveolar osteitis.

What is a dry socket? Dry socket is rare—only about two to five percent of people experience it. When a tooth is pulled, a blood clot forms at the extraction site (in the socket or hole in the bone). The blood clot protects the bone and the nerves underneath. If the clot becomes dislodged, or if it dissolves early, the bone can become exposed to air, food, and fluids. This can cause infection and severe pain.

How do you get dry sockets? You are more likely to get dry socket if you smoke, use birth control pills, or have poor oral hygiene. It’s also more common in people who undergo wisdom teeth removal or who experience greater than usual trauma having a tooth extracted.

Dry socket can be treated fairly easily. Treatment for symptoms include controlling the pain with an over-the-counter medication like aspirin or ibuprofen can be used or your dentist can prescribe something stronger if necessary. Your dentist will clean the socket area, and fill it with a medicated dressing or paste to promote healing. You may need to return to the dentist’s office to have the dressing replaced periodically. An antibiotic may also be prescribed.

Once treated, a dry socket will usually heal within a couple of weeks.

Want to learn more? Use the Ask The Expert feature of our website, or call Charlotte Dentistry®. We’re happy to help.

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