Dry Socket – What is it?
If you experience intense pain a few days after your tooth extraction along with bad breath and a foul taste in your mouth, you could have dry socket. The increase of pain in the mouth after the tooth extraction indicates an interruption in the healing process, leading to dry socket.
Dry socket is known as the condition where the jawbone or alveolar bone of a person is inflamed post a tooth extraction procedure. Also known as alveolar osteitis, the condition is very rare with only 2% to 5% of tooth extraction cases leading to dry socket. However, the percentage is higher (about 20%) for people who’ve gotten their lower wisdom teeth removed.
Causes of Dry Socket
The process of tooth extraction leaves a hole in the bone, also known as a socket. The first step to healing this hole is the formation of a blood clot in the socket in order to protect the nerves and bone lying underneath. However, if the blood clot is lost fully or partially, it may allow the entry of substances like bacteria, air, water, etc. into it and cause an infection. Thus, it delays the healing process and causes severe pain. The various factors involved in the development of a dry socket are:
Symptoms of Dry Socket
The symptoms of dry socket start about 2 days after the tooth has been extracted. The pain can start off as a mild one and then increase in its severity. The pain can become very intense and even radiate to the ear. Apart from that, a bad breath and a foul taste in the mouth can also be symptoms of a dry socket.
Treatment of Dry Socket
Over-the-counter drugs aren’t helpful in relieving the pain caused by a dry socket. Therefore, your dentist may prescribe you NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve you of the pain. For worse cases, the doctor may also anesthetize the area to numb the pain.
Other processes include cleaning the socket of any debris and filling the socket with a special paste. This will ease out the pain and promote fast healing of the socket as well. However, you may need to change the dressing every few days to avoid any infection.