Dry Socket (Alveolar Osteitis) Symptoms, Causes And Treatment
It is a fortunate statistic that fewer than 5% of patients develop Dry Socket after having a tooth removed as it is a very painful experience. Although not a permanent condition, it is one that can cause intense suffering for some time. There are certain groups of people who are more likely to suffer – we will look at this in more detail later – so it can be prevented. In this article we will look at Dry Socket symptoms, explain what the condition is and how it is treated, and look further at methods of prevention.
The general symptoms of Dry Socket begin with pain in the mouth around the area where the tooth was pulled. This can also be accompanied by bad breath, thanks to the bacteria concerned. If you look in the mouth you may also see the bone, rather than the usual blood clot covering the area. The first symptoms – the toothache-like pain – begin around two days after the removal of the tooth. As the condition worsens the pain can spread to the ears.
What Is Dry Socket?
Dry Socket is a dental condition that occurs in a few patients following the extraction of a tooth. Put simply, the socket is the hole where the tooth once was. It is in the bone in which teeth are set. After extraction the body naturally forms a blood clot in the area where the tooth was. This is to protect the bone and nerves during the healing process. If this becomes dislodged – or sometimes it can dissolve – it exposes the nerves and the bone to all that goes into the mouth. This leads to Dry Socket, which can be very painful and last several days.
Who Is Likely To Get Dry Socket?
As we have said it is unlikely that you will suffer from Dry Socket as fewer than 5% of patients contract the condition. However, certain groups of people are more likely to suffer, and they are:
- People with poor dental hygiene.
- Wisdom tooth patients
- Women using birth control pills
- Patients who suffer trauma during extraction
- Those with a history of Dry Socket.
If any of the above applies to you then you should inform your dentist and take great care after extraction.
Dry socket is easy to treat; patients are generally prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug – such as Ibuprofen – to ease the pain. In more severe cases a stronger drug or a nerve block may also be prescribed. This dulls the sensation that the nerve is subject to and reduces the pain. A dentist can clean the socket, and can also apply a dressing to the area. This may have to be changed each day until the infection subsides. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to prevent further infection. At home, you can help by rinsing with a mouthwash on a regular basis. Once the pain has gone, the dentist may recommend you are fitted with dental implants to help the situation.
What Can I Do To Prevent It?
There are several things you can do to make the likelihood of suffering from Dry Socket less. It is known that smoking contributes greatly to the risk – and to other health problems – so giving up is a sensible move. For women on birth control pills, arrange with the dentist the best time to have the extraction; the dentist will be able to advise. Make sure your dentist knows of any other medication you are on, as some can increase the risk. Finally, follow your dentist’s advice about how to behave after the extraction.
How Do I Tell If I’m Getting A Dry Socket?
You can tell if you are getting Dry Socket by keeping a look out for the symptoms described above. Check the area visually to see if there is a blood clot there, and do so on a regular basis for the first few days. If you think you are beginning to suffer, contact your dentist straight away and arrange for it to be examined.
We hope that this article has helped you to understand more about the rare condition Dry Socket, and what to do if you suffer from the symptoms. We also hope we have given you the best advice on what to do to minimise the chances of suffering Dry Socket.