Wisdom Teeth Removal: What is dry socket?

Having your impacted wisdom teeth extracted does involve a surgical procedure, and as with any surgical procedure may be associated with a risk of post-operative complications. One of the most common issues patients experience after wisdom teeth removal is dry sockets.

Following wisdom teeth removal, a blood clot is supposed to form to protect the tender nerves that remain in the empty socket after extraction. If this clot fails to form or is dislodged prematurely, before the patient has fully healed from the procedure, it causes a painful condition known as dry sockets, which is due to the exposed nerve endings.

Fortunately, your oral surgeon will give you instructions on how to prevent dry sockets. Certain actions, such as smoking and using drinking straws, can disrupt the protective clot, so you should avoid these actions for a period of time after your extraction.

While dry sockets are the most common complication after wisdom tooth extraction, patients have other concerns, as well. Infection is another post-operative risk, and the warm, moist environment in the mouth is conducive to bacterial growth. Keep the extraction site clean, using the recommended techniques. You will rinse your mouth periodically, and you will need to use care when brushing and flossing in the area. Your oral surgeon will also give you more detailed information on this aspect of your post-operative routine.

In order to give yourself enough time to heal, you will receive additional guidance from your surgeon on how to care for yourself after the procedure. You may need to adjust your diet for a few days so that you don’t interfere with the tissue’s healing process. You may also be told to limit vigorous activity for a few weeks for the same reason.

Make sure that you’re minimizing your risk of complications following wisdom teeth removal. Talk to your surgeon to make sure that you fully understand the instructions for self-care after the extraction, and don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have.

Call our office at Central Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates if you notice any symptoms of concern as you recover from wisdom tooth extraction.

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