Dental Care

Treatment for Dry Socket

Anyone who has ever dealt with the treatment for dry socket will understand how important it.

If you haven’t had the experience for yourself, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.

Dry socket is the term used to describe the failure of the gum tissue to heal properly from the site where a tooth was extracted.

Basically, it means that when you have a tooth pulled, it leaves an opening where the roots and lower part of the crown used to be. For several different reasons, this opening fails to heal, and this actually leaves the underlying jaw bone exposed to air, fluid, food, and bacteria.

This eventually leads to tremendous pain, infection, and serious health problems if not dealt with immediately.

Treatment for Dry Socket

How difficult is the treatment for dry socket? Actually, it is a matter of the “sooner the better” where dry socket is concerned.

This is because you can usually prevent infection if the dentist can administer the preliminary treatment for dry socket within a day or two after the removal of the tooth.

The basic protocol is to cleanse the opening with the appropriate tools, and then to “pack” the hole with a piece of medicated gauze. This is not an antibiotic treatment, however, but is one meant to stimulate the gum tissue to begin to heal.

You see, a dry socket is normally attributed to one major event, and that is the failure of an essential blood clot to remain in place. This blood clot is created by the flow of blood that is released when the tooth is removed.

That clot remains in place until the tissue begins to come together and reconnect to the bone.

What doctors and dentists cannot determine is the precise reasoning behind the disintegration of a clot, or the failure of the clot to remain in place.

For example, some of the more common causes are believed to be:

  • Failure of the patient to follow directions – some patients will eat and drink too soon, remove gauze within an hour of leaving the dentist’s office, rinse their mouth that same day, smoke, and drink hot fluids – all of which are known to disrupt the healing process;
  • Traumatic extractions – when the body experiences trauma, it often releases healing compounds meant to protect the body’s various tissues, but this may interfere with clotting in the mouth;
  • Past dry sockets – when people have had dry socket problems in the past, it is likely that they will experience them again;
  • Smoking – most smokers are warned that they are likely to experience dry socket, and it is unknown why roughly 20% of smokers also deal with dry socket;
  • Birth control pills – it is believed that the estrogen in the pills prevents the clotting process from functioning effectively; and
  • Location – it is known that lower molars are the site of most dry socket issues.

So, it is not easy to predict who will deal with dry sockets, nor exactly why so many people must endure the discomfort. What is known is the best approach to treating them.

We have already looked at the initial treatment for dry socket – the use of medicated gauze to stimulate tissue growth – but there are also some other steps followed to address the problem.

For example, there are some dental professionals who rely on homeopathic treatments at the same time they use medicinal ones. This might mean they use derivatives of clove oil to help with the pain and to also eliminate worries about bacterial buildup.

The Secondary Phases of Treatment for Dry Socket

Once you have visited the dentist and have been diagnosed with dry socket, you will also need to do a lot of follow up treatment for the dry socket condition.

For example, if you are being treated through the use of medicated dressings, you may have to have them changed by the dentist roughly every 24 hours, and for several days. You might also have to use some pain medication to address the severity of the discomfort so often associated with the problem.

You might also have to visit the dentist in order to have the wound rinsed as another part of the treatment for dry socket, and this can be to ensure that debris is not trapped in the opening as it begins to heal.

The other secondary phases of treatment for dry socket also include a great deal of home or self care. Generally, most patients are issued a small plastic syringe or applicator that is used to gently spray a prescription rinse over the opening. This is not necessarily to remove debris as much as it is to promote healing.

Remember too that there is often a tremendous amount of swelling connected to the appearance of dry socket, and most patients have to treat the outside of their faces with ice packs as a major part of their treatment for dry socket too.

The Duration of the Condition

Though all of this sounds terrible, there is actually a bit of good news. That is that most cases of dry socket will last for roughly ten days or less! This means that the pain from the condition can usually be addressed within hours of visiting the dentist, and that it can be almost entirely resolved in just over a week.

The key to successful treatment for dry socket is to deal with it as quickly as possible. The very first signs of worsening or increasing pain at the site of a tooth extraction are a key indicator that something has gone wrong.

Never wait a day or two to see if the pain subsides because that could allow infection to begin. Instead, if you have had a tooth removed, notice that the pain is diminishing and then note that it has returned, but worse than ever, it is necessary to head to the dentist’s office straight away.

They can treat the problem quickly and effectively, and usually help you to avoid the discomfort as much as possible.


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