3 Steps to Avoid a Dry Socket after a Dental Extraction

September 1, 2017

There are times when a tooth extraction might be needed as a dental treatment. Whether you are preparing for orthodontics or a tooth has been damaged beyond repair, an extraction might be the right solution to protect other teeth in the area.

This dental process typically is smooth without complications. But, it is essential that you follow specific care guidelines to avoid the most common complication after extraction: dry sockets. This condition happens when the blood clot that forms in the hole becomes dislodged. Then, the nerves and bone below are revealed which increases the risk of infection. The result could be an increase in pain levels and discomfort during healing time.

Follow these three tips to prevent dry socket:

Tip #1: Salt Water Rinse

After a tooth has been removed, it is possible for small particles of food to be lodged in the socket. We recommend a gentle salt water rinse to clean the area that is healing and prevent food from getting caught. The salt water promotes healing and reduces the risk of complications.

Be careful to use gentle swishing motions. Too much force while swishing the salt water could irritate and possibly lead to a dry socket. Also, it is best to stick to soft foods, like yogurt and applesauce for a few days to avoid hard food in the sockets.

Tip #2: Take it Easy

Even if you feel all right after the tooth extraction, schedule time to rest for a day or two. Heavy exercise or a lot of movement makes it harder for the body to heal. Skip the workout and relax in bed or on the couch for a little while.

The best thing that you can do is read a book or watch a few movies. Your dentist will advise you to bite down on gauze in your mouth for a few hours to stop the bleeding.

Tip #3: Don’t Brush the Socket or Use a Straw

If you have sockets that are healing, sucking a drink through a straw could dislodge the clot. The pressure of sucking on a straw can pull out the stitches and the clot, causing a dry socket. It’s ok to enjoy a smoothie or milkshake, just use a spoon instead of a straw.

Also, be careful to avoid irritation with your toothbrush. Don’t brush that area for a few days because the brushing motion could pull out the clot.

Do you have questions about care and treatment after a tooth extraction? Talk to us at Northwest Dental Group to learn more.