Dental Health 101: 4 Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Dry Socket

Dentist Blog

Nobody relishes the idea of getting a bad tooth extracted, yet in certain cases it's the only way to grant relief from painful decay. Unfortunately, for a minority of patients the pain doesn't stop there. If you have recently had a tooth removed and are experiencing a worrisome amount of pain, read on. This article will provide answers to four questions about the condition known as dry socket.

What is dry socket?

When a tooth is extracted, an empty socket is left in its place. Dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is what happens when the alveolar bone--that is, the bone surrounding your former tooth--becomes inflamed as a result of improper healing. Normally this does not happen, thanks to your body's natural healing mechanisms.

When a tooth is removed, blood will naturally protect the wound by clotting. This is your body's way of trying to protect the sensitive bone at the bottom of the socket. But when this blood clot does not form properly, or is knocked loose, the alveolar bone is at the mercy of any and all stimuli.

What are the chances of developing dry socket?

Thankfully, dry socket is a fairly rare phenomenon. In most cases, the body is able to heal itself naturally and without any undue pain. However, between 2% and 5% of people develop dry socket as a result of their body's inability to heal properly.

What are the treatment options?

Many people are dismayed to learn that there isn't a whole lot you can do to fix dry socket--aside, that is, from simply giving your body the time necessary to heal itself. This can take many weeks. To help reduce the length of recovery, your dentist may choose to apply a special medical dressing, in order to protect the vulnerable socket. Likewise, they may prescribe antibiotics to decrease the risk of developing an infection.

How can I lower the chances of getting dry socket?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to completely eliminate the chances of developing dry socket. That said, certain lifestyle habits can greatly increase the risk. This is especially true of smokers. For that reason, it is generally recommended that you should discontinue tobacco use for a full 24 hours before your surgery, and for at least 48 hours after.

Dry socket is also more common among women who use birth control pills. Increased estrogen levels impede the body's ability to heal itself. Be sure to inform your dentist if you are on birth control. They can minimize the chances of dry socket by scheduling your extraction for a time of the month when your dose of estrogen is low.

Contact a dental professional like Dr. James A. Dempsey to learn more.


3 December 2015

Loving Your Smile

Do you remember the last time you looked at your smile and really loved what you saw? A few years ago I started spending more time analyzing my appearance, and I noticed that my teeth were seriously lacking. I knew that I had to do something to improve the situation, so I began focusing on loving my smile by getting some work done. I started talking with a dentist about how he could help, and it was really incredible to see the simple difference that he was able to make. Within a few years, my smile looked and felt completely different, and I was really pleased with the results. Check out this blog for great information on making your smile more beautiful.