What Is Dry Socket?

Dry Socket or Alveolar Osteitis is severe pain after removing the teeth due to inflammation in the jawbone. Normally, empty space or sockets on extracted teeth will be covered by blood clots. The function of this blood clot is to protect the bones and nerves, before being covered by new tissue. In dry socket , the blood clots do not form or disappear before the wound is removed. As a result, bones and nerves become exposed to air, liquid, or food that enters the mouth. In addition to causing severe pain, complications after removing these teeth can lead to infection.

Symptoms of Dry Socket
When experiencing a dry socket , the symptoms will begin to feel a few days after removing the tooth . Symptoms that are felt include:
  • Pain that occurs after one to three days after removing the tooth.
  • This pain can spread to the ears, eyes, neck or
  • Bad breath.
  • Swollen and reddish gum.
  • The socket area feels very soft to the touch
  • The loss of all or part of a blood clot in the extracted area of ​​the tooth.
  • Look at the bone in the socket.
  • The socket area feels very soft to the touch.
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Cause of Dry Socket
Dry socket is caused by a disruption of the blood clotting process in the extracted area of ​​the tooth. There are several factors that can interfere with the blood clotting process, including:
  • Infections in the mouth that occur before or during tooth extraction.
  • Hormonal disorders.
  • Take birth control pills .
  • Jawbone structure abnormalities.
  • Excessive injury to the location of tooth extraction, because the teeth are difficult to remove.
  • Smoking habits, because the influence of nicotine in cigarettes decreases the blood supply in the mouth.
  • The habit of drinking with a straw, removing saliva, and brushing your teeth roughly can eliminate blood clots.
In addition to some of the trigger factors above, people who have experienced dry socket before are more susceptible to experiencing dry socket again, after removing the tooth.

Dry Socket Diagnosis
The dentist will suspect that there is a dry socket , if the patient has a complaint like the one above after removing the tooth. The doctor will do an examination of the extracted area of ​​the tooth. This check aims to see blood clots in the socket.

If a more serious disease is suspected, such as a bone infection ( osteomyelitis ) or the remaining part of the tooth root, the dentist can ask the patient to do a dental panoramic X-ray .

Dry Socket Treatment
The main goal of dry socket treatment is to relieve the symptoms of pain that arise while waiting for the healing process of dry socket . Below are the stages of treatment performed by dentists for dry socket sufferers:
  • At the initial treatment, the doctor will clean the socket or area of ​​the tooth that is removed from the remaining food left.
  • Next, the doctor can coat the socket with a paste or gel containing painkillers, in addition to reducing pain, also to protect the visible bone.
  • If you still feel pain, your doctor can prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (ibuprofen or mefenamic acid ), or an antibiotic drug if there is a bacterial infection.
During the healing process of dry socket , follow-up care needs to be done at home by gargling gently using salt water or a mouthwash that the doctor prescribes to clean the leftover food that has accumulated in the socket and accelerate the healing process. In addition, patients are recommended to compress the area of ​​the face that has dry socket with ice wrapped in a towel to relieve pain.

During the healing period, doctors recommend patients to:
  • Do not smoke.
  • Drink lots of water and avoid soft drinks.
  • Gently brush your teeth, especially around the area of ​​the tooth socket that was removed.
The healing process usually takes 7 to 10 days.

Dry Socket Prevention
In order to avoid dry socket , patients are asked not to smoke before the act of removing teeth, until the wound is completely healed or stops forever. In addition, patients who take birth control pills are advised to discuss again with the dentist regarding the consumption of birth control pills when removing teeth.

After the tooth is removed, the following things need to be done to prevent the occurrence of dry sockets , including:
  • Avoid hard, hot, spicy foods, and are difficult to chew for several days after removing the teeth.
  • When gargling, do it slowly.
  • Do not drink using a straw or spit for several days after the tooth has been removed.
  • Conduct a follow-up examination to the dentist to determine the condition of the extracted tooth.

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