Wisdom teeth are extracted from 5 million Americans a year. After your tooth has been removed, the next step is to begin your road to recovery. As with any surgery, there are some risks that you may face complications, such as a dry socket. Fortunately, you can work with your dentist to get the dry socket under control.
The Symptoms of a Dry Socket
When you have a dry socket, you will experience pain three to four days after you have had the tooth removed. The dry socket is the result of a blood clot failing to form to protect the site where you had your wisdom tooth extracted. You may also have a foul smell that results from food and bacteria accumulating in the dry socket. Therefore, you must inform your dentist about these symptoms and schedule an appointment.
The Dentist's Treatment
Your dentist will treat the dry socket by providing support for the site of the tooth extraction while it heals. The area must first be washed to remove any food debris that has accumulated. Your doctor will fill the area with a medicated dressing or paste. You will need to have the dressing changed every day until the dry socket heals. Also, if you have antibiotics prescribed, there will be less of a chance that the area will become infected.
You will also be encouraged to take an over-the-counter pain medication. If the pain medication is not strong enough to alleviate your symptoms, your dentist may prescribe a stronger medication or may anesthetize the area. If you are not able to see your dentist promptly, you should place a gauze with clove oil into the socket. The clove oil disinfects the location of the dry socket and relieves pain. The gauze should be replaced everyday to reduce the risk of an infection.
Preventing a Second Dry Socket
As you recover from dry socket, you should refrain from smoking because tobacco slows healing. Also, as you suck on a cigarette, the blood clot may become dislodged, inhibiting your recovery. You should refrain from oral contraceptives, since they can slow down your healing time. Also, make sure to follow your dentist's recommended at-home care instructions.
You must maintain excellent oral hygiene. Brush your teeth three times a day and rinse your mouth regularly. Brush gently around the area of the extraction. If you experience oozing, place a gauze pack near the area of the extraction. Also, try to reduce swelling by holding an ice pack near the affected area. For more information about recovering from oral surgery, contact a company like Iowa Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, PC.