Alveolar osteitis, more commonly known as dry socket, is a painful dental condition that can occur after you have a permanent adult tooth extracted. What exactly is dry socket, why does it happen, and how is it treated? Read on in today’s blog from Dr. Steven Harrison of Parkcrest Dental Group, and learn more about the dental condition dry socket.
What is Dry Socket?
While dry socket is not a common condition, anyone who has had it knows just how painful it can be. Normally, a blood clot forms at the site of a tooth extraction, serving as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot at the site of the tooth extraction fails to develop, dislodges or prematurely dissolves. Typically, this results in severe pain due to exposure of the underlying bone and nerves. Dry socket is the most common complication following tooth extractions, such as removal of wisdom teeth.
Signs and Symptoms
Some common signs and symptoms of dry socket include:
- New and severe pain within a few days after a tooth extraction
- Visible bone in socket site
- Pain that radiates to your ear, eye, temple or neck on the same side as the tooth extraction
- Bad breath or foul odor emanating from your mouth
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
Causes and Risks
The exact cause of dry socket remains a subject of study. Some suspected issues are bacterial contamination and trauma at the surgical site. There are also some factors that have been shown to increase your risk, such as smoking, failure to follow up with home care guidelines, and tooth and gum infections. Also, if you have experienced dry socket in the past, you are at a higher risk to experience it again.
Prevention and Treatment
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to decrease your chances of getting dry socket. First and foremost, seek out a dentist or oral surgeon with a lot of experience in tooth extraction, like the experienced professionals at Parkcrest Dental Group. Also, if you’re a smoker or tobacco user, you should try to stop before the extraction. Tobacco products can significantly increase your risk of dry socket. You should also talk to your dentist about any prescription or over-the-counter medication you might be taking, as some medications can interfere with blood clotting. Treatment for dry socket typically focuses on pain management and often includes things like flushing out the wound to rid it of food and debris, medicated dressings and prescribed medications.
A certain amount of pain and discomfort is typical following a tooth extraction. However, you should contact your dentist immediately if you experience new or worsening pain after the tooth extraction.
Contact Dr. Steven Harrison
If you have questions about your dental or orthodontic needs, contact Dr. Steven Harrison of Parkcrest Dental Group today. Dr. Harrison has been serving the Springfield area since 1986, and he is dedicated to the best in orthodontic and dental care.