Treatment for dry socket after tooth extraction
Patients who experience dry socket after tooth extraction must be aware that there is no dental treatment for dry socket that can speed up the delayed healing process. The condition will eventually heal by itself with time, but the patient has to withstand the symptoms for a prolonged period of time until full dry socket healing. As the possible dry socket treatments are limited to the reduction of the dry socket pain, it is better to take early care in preventing dry sockets.
Problems of dry socket occur rarely, affecting only about 1% to 5% of all tooth extractions, but in certain types of extractions can be much higher. The occurence rate of dry socket symptoms after wisdom teeth extraction, especially those of lower impacted wisdom teeth, may reach 15% or more.
Treatment for dry socket pain
Before starting any dry socket treatment, the dentist will examine the tooth extraction area, in order to verify that the pain is actually caused by a dry socket problem and not by some other condition. An x-ray may also help the dentist to check the tooth socket for any other complications such as fragments of the tooth that may remain in the alveolar bone.
Usually, the dentist’s involvement is required for the best treatment of dry socket pain after a tooth extraction. The procedure that dentists follow for treating dry socket includes :
- Pain medication. In most of the cases, over-the-counter pain medications are not enough in relieving the dry socket pain. The dentist will usually prescribe a stronger prescription analgesic. Generally, it is difficult for analgesics alone (either non-prescription or prescription) to control pain and offer an effective dry socket treatment.
- Rinsing / cleaning the socket. The dentist or oral surgeon will rinse carefully the tooth socket in order to remove any food particles or other debris trapped in it, that could cause additional pain or infection. Rinsing the socket may be painful, so the dentist may provide local anesthesia before the cleaning.
- Applying medicated dressings. After the socket is cleaned, the dentist inserts a medicated dressing in the open tooth socket. This medicated dressing contains analgesics and antiseptics, that help to relieve pain, prevent infections and protect from sources of iiritation, such as food particles entering the socket. To complete the dry socket treatment, the dressing must be replaced daily or more frequently if necessary for a number of days, depending on the severity of the dry socket pain.
This treatment procedure can help to reduce the patient’s discomfort by controlling the level of pain until the healing process is able to progress and resolve the symptoms of the dry socket. Unfortunately in some cases the intense pain may last longer than 2 weeks regardless of the dry socket remedies used.
Home remedy for dry socket - Remedies to ease pain and help healing
There are some other dry socket remedies that you can follow at home, after you have consulted your dentist :
- Cleaning. After finishing a dry socket treatment with medicated dressings, the dentist may suggest a home remedy for some days. This home remedy for dry socket involves the regular cleaning of the dry tooth socket with water or a mouthwash using a plastic syringe, in order to remove any food residuals and facilitate dry socket healing.
- Clove Oil. Some patients report as effective another home remedy for dry socket pain relief, by applying some drops of clove oil in a soft cloth placed in the socket.
Aspirin. Another home remedy involves aspirin instead of clove oil. But aspirin can prevent blood clotting, so it is posiible that it will worsen the problem.
ASK your dentist before following any dry socket home remedies !
Preventing dry socket after tooth extraction
There is a number of things that can be done, both before and after a tooth extraction, to prevent the development of dry socket. Preventing dry sockets after tooth extraction is focused in eliminating, as possible, all the factors that could interfere with the formation of the blood clot or could disturb it after it is formed.
Things that could be done before the tooth extraction include :
- Choosing a dentist that has a good experience in extractions, to minimize the expectancy of trauma during the procedure. An oral surgeon may be preferrable for complicated or surgical extractions.
- Having a good overall dental health, to reduce the risk of post-operative complications such as the dry socket. A professional dental cleaning may be recommended before the extraction.
- Stop smoking at least 24 hours before a tooth is extracted.
- Phasing of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is better for women who use oral contraseptives to schedule tooth extractions during the last week of their menstrual cycle (days 23 through 28), when the estrogen levels are lower.
After the procedure, it is important to follow carefully the post-operative instructions of your dentist. Some of them that are crucial during the first days for preventing dry socket after tooth extractions include :
- Avoid drinking through a straw, spitting or sucking.
- No smoking is essential for dry socket prevention.
- Avoid excessive mouth rinsing.
- Good oral hygiene.
- Eat soft foods. Avoid hot foods and drinks.
By following these pre and post procedure instructions for preventing dry socket, you can minimize the risk of needing a dry socket treatment after tooth extraction.
The cost of replacing extracted teeth can be significant and many patients may not afford it if they are not covered by their dental insurance. Learn how to choose a dental insurance plan that will provide the best dental treatment to you and your family.