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How to Prevent a Dry Socket

Millions of Americans have teeth extractions every year. Any time you have a tooth removed, there’s always a danger that a condition known as alveolar osteitis — or dry socket — can develop.

This painful condition occurs when the blood clot that normally covers the bone and nerve issue is somehow dislodged or doesn’t properly form. The blood clot allows healing to take place. If it’s not there, infection can set in and the exposed nerve can cause a lot of pain.

Symptoms of dry socket include severe pain a few days after the procedure, an unpleasant taste in your mouth, visible bone in the socket, and persistent bad breath.  

At Portrait Dental in Katy, Texas, we have seen many dry socket cases like these over the years. Here are the steps we recommend you take to avoid this painful condition after surgery.

Don’t use straws

The suction you generate with your mouth and the movement of your cheeks when you use a straw can easily dislodge a blood clot from your tooth socket. It’s best to wait at least a week after extraction before you try to use a straw.

Don’t smoke

People who smoke experience dry socket at a higher rate than people who don’t. The fast inhalation movement of smoking can move the blood clot out of your socket and cause issues. 

The same principle applies to vaping or smoking of any other product. To make the situation easier, try to reduce your tobacco intake for a couple of weeks prior to your surgery and then use nicotine patches after the surgery. 

You should wait at least 48 hours to begin smoking again.

Watch what you eat

Avoid foods that are small, hard, or sticky and can get stuck in your socket. These include nuts, seeds, chips, and sticky candies. 

You should be safe eating softer foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt, and applesauce.

Use proper oral hygiene

Keeping your mouth clean is one of the best moves you can make to prevent dry socket. 

Good oral hygiene will protect your socket from germs and infections. If these intruders are allowed in, they could dissolve the blood clot and cause more problems.

Watch out for medication interactions

Before your procedure, check with us to make sure any medications you take won’t increase your risk of getting dry socket. Some medicines can keep blood from clotting in its normal fashion. 

Dry socket is painful, but with the proper care and preventive measures you have a very good chance of preventing it from occurring. 

If you have dry socket or want to know more about how to prevent it, schedule a consultation with our team at Portrait Dental. Call the office or use our convenient online scheduler today.

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