Dry Socket Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Dry Socket

The normal situation for dry socket is the incident of throbbing pain about two to four days after the tooth is extracted. Dry socket pain is typically accompanied by bad breath and a foul taste in the mouth. With this start of pain, it is obvious that correct recovery has been interrupted.

What Is Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a condition where there is inflammation of the jawbone (or alveolar bone) after a tooth extraction. It is likewise referred to as “alveolar osteitis” and is among the lots of complications that can happen from a tooth extraction. The event of dry socket is fairly uncommon, occurring in about 2% of tooth extractions. However, that percentage rises to a minimum of 20% when it involves the removal of mandibular affected 3rd molars (lower wisdom teeth).

Dry socket (alveolar osteitis) is a painful dental condition that can occur after you have a long-term adult tooth drawn out. Dry socket is the most common problem following tooth extractions, such as the elimination of impacted wisdom teeth. If you develop dry socket, the pain typically starts three to four days after your tooth is eliminated.

What Causes a Dry Socket?

A dry socket is brought on by the partial or total loss of a blood clot in the tooth socket after a tooth extraction. Usually, after a tooth is extracted, a blood clot will form as the primary step in healing to cover and protect the underlying jawbone. If the embolism is lost or does not form, the bone is exposed and recovery is delayed.

In general, a dry socket is a result of bacterial, chemical, mechanical, and physiologic aspects. Below are examples for each:

  • Bacterial: Preexisting infection that exists in the mouth prior to a dental extraction such as gum disease (or periodontitis) can avoid proper development of a blood clot. Particular oral bacteria can cause the breakdown of the embolisms.
  • Chemical: Nicotine used by smokers causes a decrease in the blood supply in the mouth. As an outcome, the blood clot may fail to form at the site of a current tooth extraction.
  • Mechanical: Sucking through a straw, aggressive rinsing, spitting, or dragging out a cigarette causes dislodgement and loss of the blood clot.
  • Physiologic: Hormonal agents, thick jawbone, or poor blood supply are elements that prevent embolism formation.

What Are Risk Factors for Getting Dry Socket?

Smoking cigarettes is a risk factor for developing a dry socket due to the nicotine discovered in cigarettes. Exposure to nicotine reduces the blood supply offered to the recovery socket and can prevent the proper formation of a blood clot at the extraction site.

Extraction of affected 3rd molars (wisdom teeth) can be traumatic as some surrounding gum tissue and jawbone might have to be eliminated or may be adversely affected during surgery. Although the extraction is necessary, the resulting trauma can increase the possibilities of dry socket.

Previous infections such as periodontal disease or pericoronitis at the site of the extraction can predispose an individual to dry socket.

Women have actually been found to establish a dry socket more so than men. This might be related to hormone factors such as use of oral contraceptives or normal hormonal modifications during a woman’s cycle.

Patients older than Thirty Years of age with affected third molars have actually an increased risk of dry socket. With age, the jawbone ends up being more thick and has less blood supply readily available. A thick jawbone increases the risk of a terrible extraction and less blood supply decreases the opportunities of blood clot development and timely healing.

Now you may have reasonable question like “how do you know if you have dry socket?” Check out dry socket symptoms and signs and pictures below.

Dry Socket Symptoms

A tell-tale sign of dry socket is when there is partial or total loss of an embolism. The jawbone may show up in the socket as a white area where it would normally be covered with a blood clot or healing membrane. Dry socket is not considered an infection and, therefore, not accompanied with fever, swelling, or inflammation.

A lot of people ask “what does a dry socket look like?” Find out the photo of dry socket to have an idea about visual view of the condition.

what does a dry socket look like

Symptoms of a dry socket include a throbbing constant pain that presents a few days after a tooth extraction. The pain may radiate to other parts of the head such as the ears and eyes on the same side of the face. A nasty smell and an undesirable taste in the mouth may likewise exist due to the accumulation of food debris and bacteria in the socket. A stiff jaw is not a normal symptom of dry socket however is often a coincidental symptom after a dental surgery procedure such as tooth extraction.

What Does Dry Socket Feel Like

Answer: The patient will first find that their initial pain does slowly fade for the first couple of days following their extraction. (Just like with normal healing.)
However then, usually in between days 2 and 4 after their procedure, their level of pain then begins to intensify.

While the exact timing of an individual’s symptoms will differ, 95% of dry socket cases are discovered within the first week after the patient’s surgery.

dry socket image
How does dry socket after lost tooth look like shown on the picture

How Is a Dry Socket Diagnosed?

Medical diagnosis of a dry socket is based upon history of dental treatment, scientific evaluation, and the individual’s symptoms. Timing of when symptoms start might be an indicator for a dry socket. During regular recovery, the discomfort of an extraction ought to reduce gradually. However, if the pain increases, this is an indicator that recovery is postponed and might potentially be because of a dry socket. Generally, symptoms for a dry socket establish two to four days after a tooth extraction. Most dry sockets take place within the first week after tooth extraction.

Dry Socket Treatment

Treatment typically includes symptomatic support while the socket heals. At first, the dental professional will carefully water to clear the socket of food debris. Next, an analgesic medicated dressing is placed within the socket to cover the exposed bone. This typically supplies instant relief. This dressing might have to be changed every couple of days during the healing process. The dressing is often covered with “dry socket paste,” which is made up of components with pain-relieving homes, including eugenol (clove oil).

Additionally, medications can be prescribed to handle the pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil or Aleve) or narcotics (such as hydrocodone/acetaminophen [Vicodin] are frequently used to relieve pain.

Home Remedies for Dry Socket

Home treatment or home remedies for a dry socket must mainly be limited to over the counter pain medications for pain management. If prompt treatment with a dentist is not possible, the placement of a cotton or gauze packing with a few drops of clove oil positioned into the socket might assist in temporary pain relief. The packaging might be replaced after 24 hours as required. A follow-up visit with the dentist or oral surgeon is highly recommended to correctly examine and treat the affected areas and avoid complications. Delaying a follow-up check out with a health-care professional could lengthen the pain along with the healing time.

What Is the Healing Time for a Dry Socket?

Average healing time is seven to 10 days, as this is the amount of time it considers new tissue to grow to cover the exposed socket. Diagnosis is good as there normally are no long-lasting consequences. Once the tissue is able to cover the bone, the healing will progress generally.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

The avoidance of establishing a dry socket might be affected by the methods used by the dentist or cosmetic surgeon performing the tooth extraction. Such preventive approaches consist of (1) positioning of a packaging at surgery with or without antibiotic (for example, tetracycline) and/or (2) positioning of sutures to secure the embolism. These information can be gone over with the dental practitioner or cosmetic surgeon prior to the procedure to figure out if these preventive techniques would be suggested.

After extraction, there are a few everyday activities that ought to be avoided: smoking, drinking with a straw, and vigorous spitting or rinsing. It is very important to follow any unique guidelines given by the dental expert or cosmetic surgeon in taking care of the extraction site at home.

Finally, recent studies have revealed that the incidence of dry socket with women is considerably decreased when tooth extractions are performed during their menstrual period (menses). When teeth extractions can be electively planned, the recommendation is to perform this procedure during the menstrual period. In this way, the risk of dry socket due to cycle-related hormone changes can be removed.

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