Dry socket is a side effect that can occur after dental surgery when a tooth is removed. It happens most often after the removal of a wisdom tooth. It can be extremely uncomfortable, and symptoms should be brought to the attention of your dentist or oral surgeon right away.

What Is Dry Socket?

After a tooth is removed, it leaves behind an opening in the jawbone. This is known as the “socket”. A clot forms naturally to fill this hole. The clot serves to stop bleeding and to protect the bone and nerve tissue that otherwise would be left open to the air.

With dry socket, this protective clot falls out before the tissue beneath it has had time to heal properly. Bone and nerves that are exposed as a result are very sensitive and can react to any stimulus, from hot or cold foods, liquids, or even from air passing over it. Symptoms can include:

•    Extreme sensitivity
•    Throbbing or pulsing in the jawbone
•    Headache or other radiating discomfort from the site of the removed tooth

Any of these symptoms can indicate dry socket has occurred, and should be treated immediately before discomfort becomes severe. Dry socket also increases the risk for infection. You are at higher risk for developing dry socket if you are a smoker, do not take proper care of your teeth, or if it was from wisdom teeth extraction.

Treating Dry Socket

After your dental surgery, your doctor will provide instructions on what to do to prevent dry socket as well as when you should seek out additional treatment. There are several ways to treat dry socket, including:

•    Over-the-counter medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen
•    Prescription painkillers and antibiotics
•    Daily treatment at the dentist’s office to clean and fill the socket until it heals

In many cases, you must visit the dentist every day to have the socket treated until it has healed sufficiently. Otherwise, you could develop infection which would require more extensive treatment.

If the time has come for you to get your wisdom teeth removed and you would like further treatment information, contact the office of Dr. Chris Tye, serving Grapevine and surrounding areas, at 817-552-3223 today to schedule a one on one consultation.