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What Is Dry Socket Condition After Tooth Extraction, Dentist Explains

Spitting or gargling puts pressure on the tooth extraction site, dislodging blood clots which leads to a dry socket problem.

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Jan 12, 2023 09:00 IST
What Is Dry Socket Condition After Tooth Extraction, Dentist Explains

After getting a tooth extracted, you might experience pain that can last for some days. Your dentist may suggest you avoid certain practices after your extraction treatment to avoid conditions like a dry socket. To know more about the dry socket condition, the OnlyMyHealth editorial team talked to Dr Nihal Yadav, BDS (PGI Rohtak), Amayra Dental Clinic, Kaushik Enclave, Burari, Delhi, a former resident at Deen Dayal Hospital, Hari Nagar.

What Is A Dry Socket?

“After tooth extraction treatment, we advise patients to avoid spitting and gargling for 24 hours. We do this to prevent damage to the tooth extraction site. Commonly, after bleeding happens, clots form at the extraction site to heal and prevent excessive bleeding. This acts as a protective layer over the tooth extraction site. When blood clotting does occur at the tooth extraction site, the extraction site stays in the open and gets infected, causing a dry socket.”

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Causes Of A Dry Socket

Trauma On Extraction Site

Dr Yadav said that the common cause of a dry socket is when the patient spits or gargles immediately after getting a tooth extraction. This dislodges or dissolves the blood clots meant to stay on the extraction site for bone protection.

Bacterial Infection

Dry socket conditions can also occur due to bacterial infection in your socket. The infection causes pus, aggravating the problem. The bacteria can stay in your mouth if you have gum disease.

Symptoms Of A Dry Socket

In the case of dry socket condition, the tooth extraction site appears empty, and one can easily see the bone inside. Following are the other symptoms of dry socket:

Intense Pain

According to Dr Nihal, one can experience shooting or intense pain in a dry socket condition. “The pain is so intense that sometimes even painkillers could not cure it,” he added.

Bad Taste & Breath

One can also experience a bad taste in the mouth during dry socket conditions. Since there is an infection involved in this condition, there is a tendency for pus formation, which leads to a bad taste and breath in the mouth.

Extreme Conditions

The pain can travel from the empty socket to the ear, temple, or neck when the situation becomes extreme.

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Risk Factors

Dr Yadav stated the following risk factors for the dry socket problem:

  • Tooth and gum infection
  • Smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Spitting and gargling after treatment
  • Improper oral care

Treatment Of A Dry Socket

According to Dr Yadav, “After tooth extraction treatment, painkillers are given that suppress the pain and aid in recovery. There are several healing packs a patient can use to get relief from a dry socket. Besides, the treatment can include gargling with betadine. In severe conditions, a cut is made on the extraction site for fresh bleeding and clotting to occur.”

When To See A Dentist?

Dr Yadav also pointed out that one should wait for at least one week after getting the tooth extraction. After one week, if the pain persists, then you need to revisit your dentist. Patients can continue brushing their teeth and should ensure no food particles are lodged at the tooth extraction site.

Image Credits: freepik

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