Are you scheduled to undergo a tooth extraction? If so, you may be concerned about dry sockets.
Put simply, these occur when the blood clot at your extraction site falls out or dissolves, exposing the bone to air and causing pain, swelling, and tenderness.
Though they’re most commonly associated with wisdom tooth surgery, dry sockets are a risk with any sort of dental extraction.
Medical experts estimate they occur in between 0.5% and 5.6% of surgical extractions. For third molar extractions, it jumps to around 30%.
The good news is that there are steps you can take, from dry socket home remedies to preventative measures, to decrease your likelihood of experiencing this discomfort.
We’re talking about a few today. This way, you’ll be better prepared when the big day comes.
What are Dry Sockets?
Dry socket is technically referred to as alveolar or fibrinolytic osteitis. It occurs when the tissue around your alveolar bone (the bone that contains your tooth socket) becomes inflamed.
Within the first three days or so of your extraction surgery, the resulting blood clot is essential to helping the bone heal and protecting it.
When it breaks down or falls out, it exposes that bone prematurely. As a result, everything from taking a deep breath to drinking a sip of water can cause acute pain.
Dry Socket Symptoms
Though you may expect to feel a degree of post-extraction discomfort after your surgery, dry sockets present an entirely different level of pain.
Some of the first signs that you may need to create some dry socket home remedies include:
- Pain that peaks between three and five days after surgery
- Bad breath
- An unpalatable taste in your mouth
- An earache
- A dry space where your tooth was removed
If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. They can confirm if you indeed have dry sockets.
Dry Socket Prevention
Some people will experience dry sockets even after taking the utmost care after their surgery. However, there are many ways you can help lessen your odds.
It’s important to treat the first few days after your tooth extraction with extreme care. This is the timeframe in which a dry socket most often occurs. So, making wise decisions at the onset can make a big difference.
For the first three to five days, try to avoid:
- Drinking from a straw or smoking
- Spitting, sneezing or coughing in excess
- Touching the area of extraction
- Eating food that could leave particles in your mouth
- Carbonated soft drinks
You’re also at a greater risk for developing dry sockets if you take oral contraceptives, have certain blood clotting problems, or bone disorders. The same goes if you fail to comply with your dentist’s instructions for postoperative oral hygiene and tooth protection.
DIY Dry Socket Home Remedies
Looking to relieve the pain and swelling associated with dry sockets? Your first course of action should be to seek help from a dental professional.
An oral surgeon will be able to pack your open wound to mimic the healing properties of the absent blood clot. While you wait for your appointment, there are several easy dry socket home remedies you can try for immediate relief.
Clove oil has long been linked with relieving tooth pain.
With natural antibacterial and analgesic properties, it can help reduce the bacteria at the site. It can also act as a protective bone barrier, quell discomfort, and jumpstart the recovery process.
Simply dab a little on a cotton swab and place it on your socket for about 60 seconds. Then, rinse with warm water. Repeat during the day as needed.
Don’t have clove oil? Tea tree oil works in much the same way.
Add a few drops to a moistened cotton swab, then press it on the site, waiting about five minutes before rinsing with warm water.
Cold Water Compress
One of the quickest and simplest dry socket home remedies to try? A cold compress.
While you won’t put this compress directly on your extraction site, holding it on your face right above the painful spot can work wonders.
Grab a towel and soak it in cold water. Then, wring it out. Press it to your cheek or jaw for about 15 minutes.
You can repeat this process up to five times per day for the first two days. Then, change over to a warm water compress after that to help bring any swelling down.
Salt Water Rinse
To prevent any more bacteria from forming and to relieve pain, you can also try a gentle salt water rinse.
After eating, mix about 1/2 of a tablespoon of salt in a cup of lukewarm water, stirring until it’s completely dissolved. Then, rinse your mouth with the solution.
A recent study revealed that a twice-daily saline rinse is an effective and convenient way to relieve postoperative dental complications.
It might sound like one of the most unlikely dry socket home remedies, but biting down on a cold tea bag can give you quick relief.
To make one, stick a black tea bag in a cup of warm water, wringing it out after about five minutes. Then, stick the tea bag in the fridge for 15 minutes so it can get cold.
Unlike a cold compress, which must be applied to the outside of your mouth, the tea bag can go directly on your dry socket.
Place it at the site and bite down, allowing the tannic acid in the tea to reduce swelling and work its anti-bacterial magic.
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