Post-Surgery Complications – Dry Socket

After undergoing tooth extraction, it is critical that patients closely follow their oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions. This not only makes for a quicker, more comfortable recovery process, it can prevent difficulties from occurring during this time. However, even patients who keep these directions perfectly may experience complications such as dry socket.

What Causes Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a fairly common condition, particularly following wisdom tooth extraction. After this procedure, blood clots form as part of the healing process, covering exposed bone and nerves to protect these delicate tissues from damage and infection. However, if these blood clots are dislodged, bacteria and debris may enter and become trapped in the empty socket. Without sufficient cleaning and treatment, infection occurs, causing patients severe pain as well as difficulty with chewing and swallowing.

Symptoms of dry socket include:

  • Severe pain in the days following extraction
  • Visible bone tissue
  • Partial or complete blood Loss at extraction site
  • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth

How to Treat and Prevent Dry Socket

In order to protect your healing smile, it is important that patients closely follow post-surgery instructions from their oral surgeon. At Lorton-Springfield Dental Implants & Oral Surgery, Dr. Snehal Patel recommends the following:

  • Avoid tobacco use: Smoking a cigarette can dislodge the newly forming blood clot. In addition, chemicals in tobacco are known to disrupt proper healing and can contaminate the extraction site, triggering development of dry socket.
  • Avoid touching the site: Poking the empty socket with your tongue or touching it with your fingers can lead to infection and, subsequently, dry socket.
  • Don’t use a straw: The suction from using a straw may dislodge blood clots, leading to dry socket.

Treatment for dry socket is often fairly straight forward. To remove debris and infected tissue, our oral surgeon will flush out the socket before covering the area with a medicated gel or paste. Pain medication may also be provided to alleviate discomfort. Typically, symptoms clear up within five to six days of treatment. At your follow-up visit, Dr. Patel will examine the extraction area, checking for the development of a new blood clot and improved healing.

Experiencing Dry Socket? Call our Oral Surgeon in NOVA Immediately 703-436-4633

Left untreated, dry socket can quickly compromise both your oral and overall well being. If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with this condition, call our oral surgery practice immediately to schedule an emergency appointment. 703-436-4633