How to Prevent Dry Sockets after Wisdom Tooth Extraction

The last thing someone wants to deal with is dry sockets after wisdom tooth extraction. While most wisdom tooth extractions go smoothly, a tiny percentage of patients end up with dry sockets after the procedure. Luckily, there are some things that can be done to lower your risk of getting dry sockets.

Why do dentists remove wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to emerge, and they tend to be the most problematic. Given their location at the back of the mouth, they are harder to clean than the other teeth, and this makes them more vulnerable to tooth decay. Wisdom teeth are also more likely to be crooked, impacted or disfigured since most of the space on a person's jaw has already been taken up by other teeth by the time they erupt.

Wisdom teeth are also the only set of teeth that are not necessary. This usually leads to dentists recommending to have them extracted the moment any issues arise.

What is a dry socket?

Sockets are holes in a person's jawbone where a tooth was removed. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot that developed to stop the bleeding in the socket become dislodged. It leaves the socket exposed to air and the irritants in the person's mouth like bacteria, saliva and food particles. The loss of the blood clot slows down the recovery process, and it can lead to excruciating pain.

How dry sockets occur

Smoking or drinking with a straw creates suction forces that can dislodge a blood clot. Once the clot is removed, particles enter the socket and irritate the opening. Poor dental hygiene, birth control medication and constantly touching the site of the extraction increase the odds of a dry socket developing.

How to prevent dry sockets

Here are some simple things that reduce the odds of you developing a dry socket after tooth extraction:

  • Practice regular dental hygiene
  • Use a medicated rinse as instructed by a dentist
  • Rinse the mouth with salt water after meals to reduce bacteria
  • Do not touch the socket
  • Avoid smoking for at least 24 hours after the procedure
  • Do not eat foods that leave particles behind, such as peanuts and popcorn
  • Eat only soft foods
  • Stay away from fizzy drinks

Detecting a dry socket

The first sign of a dry socket is a painful opening at the site of the wisdom tooth extraction. You may also feel throbbing pain that starts roughly two days after the extraction. It typically radiates from the socket to the rest of your head. If you have a nasty taste in the mouth or bad breath, then you may have dry sockets.

Treatment options

A dentist can remove any particles that are lodged in the socket. They will also fill the socket with a dental paste that facilitates the recovery process. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the infection and pain.

Do you think you have a dry socket?

The pain of a dry socket after wisdom tooth extraction can be unbearable. Set up an appointment with Asha Dental to have it treated immediately.

Are you dealing with dry sockets in the Leawood area? Get more information at .

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Wisdom Teeth Extraction.

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Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Necessary?

ToothAs with so many subjects in dentistry and medicine, there is no black and white answer for whether or not wisdom tooth extraction is necessary. It can be challenging to see clearly through the cultural stories around wisdom teeth removal as well as to review the scientific literature on the subject. Wisdom teeth are routinely removed regardless of whether the tooth is infected or healthy. But is this really necessary? Are there dangerous risks associated with this common procedure?

Wisdom Teeth Information

From babyhood to adolescence, teeth erupt in stages: first incisors, then canines, premolars and molars and, finally, wisdom teeth. Dentists call wisdom teeth third molars and they appear at the back of the mouth. Under the circumstances, wisdom teeth may have been useful in the past for replacing molars that had become worn out. Now that diets contain softer foods, the teeth do not do this as quickly, and there are no gaps for wisdom teeth to fill.

Some people do not experience a single problem with their wisdom teeth, while others can experience pain, infection and other instances of discomfort from their wisdom teeth. For decades, having wisdom teeth removed was a rite of passage. In fact, Americans spend an estimated $3 billion a year removing wisdom teeth, according to the American Public Health Association.

Different case for each person

The thinking was that it was best to lose those mostly useless, ill-fitting teeth before they caused infections or other trouble. Historically, oral surgeons have had the view that it is better to take them out, better to be safe than sorry. These days, the message is different as some healthy wisdom teeth may be ok to keep, as long as you undergo regular exams and X-rays to catch signs of trouble.

Problems with wisdom teeth usually end with their removal. Dentists often prefer to remove wisdom teeth when patients are in their late teens or early 20s before they cause problems. At this age, wisdom teeth roots have not solidified in the jaw bone, and are easier to remove than in older patients.

Seek professional opinion

If one's wisdom teeth happen to be causing pain and discomfort, then the benefit of removing the wisdom teeth may outweigh the risks. However, the risks associated with wisdom tooth extraction include dry socket, damage to the jaw, and jaw fracture to permanent paresthesia. In fact, in some types of impacted wisdom teeth (namely when the wisdom tooth is tilted toward the second molar), the risk of nerve damage is as high as 6%. Now, 6% may not seem like a very high number, but would you risk drooling for the rest of your life due to nerve damage if you actually knew the statistics?

These days it is now believed that wisdom teeth that are completely erupted and functional, painless, cavity-free, in a hygienic environment with healthy gum tissue, and are disease-free may not require extraction. The fact is that patients and doctors should discuss options, ranging from removal to regular monitoring. Even if you choose not to have them removed, it's best to keep an eye on them in case any issues develop in the future.

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Tooth ExtractionWhile there are many reasons for why a tooth may need to be extracted, when it comes to wisdom teeth, the main reason is that when they come in they tend to overcrowd the mouth. For most people, wisdom teeth do not start to come in until their late teens. When they do start to come in, many times they will affect the other teeth, leading to an overcrowded mouth.

When there are too many teeth in the mouth the teeth will start to move and shift. This shifting can lead to additional oral issues, often making it necessary to perform a wisdom tooth extraction. Are your wisdom teeth causing you any oral issues? While wisdom teeth can make teeth shift, they should not cause you any pain.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars to come in, with the majority of people getting their wisdom teeth anywhere between the ages of 16 and 25. While many dental patients do just fine when these final molars come in, others will experience some issues, which is for the most part due to their being impacted or having poor alignment.

In order for someone to find out whether or not they are going to need their wisdom teeth extracted, they are going to need to make an appointment with their dentist. Whenever a dental patient is experiencing any issues with their wisdom teeth, only a professional dentist can determine whether or not an extraction is necessary.

What happens during an extraction?

The following is what any dental patient can expect to happen during a wisdom tooth extraction:

  1. The dentist will use one of the three different types of anesthesia available. We will discuss these options with the patient and decide on one before the actual procedure.
  2. The dentist will carefully manipulate the tooth, gently maneuvering the tooth so that it detaches from the fibers that hold it in place.
  3. The dentist will then check to make sure the entire tooth is indeed removed, cleaning the area as necessary.
  4. Gauze will be placed in the area where the tooth was removed in order to help stop the bleeding. Sometimes the patient will require a stitch or two to keep the gap closed until fully healed.

Tooth extractions are one of the more popular dental procedures performed.

Aftercare tips

The following are a few aftercare tips to follow after having any wisdom teeth extracted. Following the dentist's instructions is the best way to ensure the area heals completely, and without any issue.

  • Keep the area clean and be sure not to brush but only rinse during the first 24 hours
  • Replace gauze as necessary
  • If there is swelling is present, use an ice pack
  • Try to rest for at least 48 hours after the procedure
  • Drink plenty of water, being sure to avoid alcohol, soda and hot drinks for at least 24 hours after the procedure
  • Do not use a straw for at least a week after the procedure
  • Only eat soft foods in the first 24 hours
  • Do not to smoke for at least 72 hours after the procedure

Need wisdom tooth advice?

If you are currently experiencing any wisdom tooth pain and for that reason are wondering if a wisdom tooth extraction is necessary, we invite you to contact us today for more information. While these last set of molars indeed have a purpose, sometimes they cause more troubles than the benefits they are to provide.

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