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If you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed or undergone any type of tooth extraction, you’ve likely been warned about the dry socket. This condition can develop after you have a tooth pulled and often causes moderate to severe pain. But, knowing how to prevent dry socket can help you avoid oral pain after an extraction. 

What is a Dry Socket?

A dry socket is a dental condition that can occur after an adult tooth extraction. It can develop if a blood clot at the extraction site dissolves, becomes detached, or never forms. The nerves and bone tissue are left unprotected without a blood clot, which triggers pain in the socket. 

Dry Socket Risk Factors

There’s often no clear reason why some patients have a higher risk of developing dry socket than others. However, potential risk factors for dry socket include:

  • Poor oral hygiene can make bacteria accumulate in the socket
  • Trauma at the extraction site (typically occurs as a result of a challenging or complex extraction)
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Smoking
  • Forceful swishing, drinking through a straw, and other actions that could dislodge a blood clot

How To Prevent Dry Socket After an Extraction

  1. Stick to soft foods in the weeks following a tooth extraction. You should steer clear of hard, crunchy, and sticky foods (such as chips, nuts, popcorn, caramel, hard candies, etc.) for around two weeks after the surgery to avoid disturbing the blood clot. 
  2. Don’t use a straw for one to two days after the extraction. The suction of using a straw may dislodge the blood clot. 
  3. Avoid smoking and oral tobacco before and after tooth extractions. Nicotine interferes with circulation and increases your risk of developing a dry socket.  
  4. Don’t aggressively rinse, spit, or brush the extraction site for a few days after the extraction. While you should still brush your other teeth after an extraction, you should use a mouth rinse for a few days instead of brushing the socket directly. 

The team at 19th Avenue Dental is here to answer all of your dry socket questions. To book an appointment, reach out to us today.