Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, happens in only 2-5% of people after a tooth extraction but is more common with wisdom teeth extraction. Dry socket can be uncomfortable or even painful if untreated.
The socket in this case is the hole in the bone where the tooth was extracted. When a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms to protect the tissue, nerves, and bone. If this clot is knocked loose or dissolves too soon, the nerves or bone may be exposed to the environment and can lead to infection or pain for a few days, and increase the time it takes to heal.
Bad breath, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, pain that spreads to the ears or eyes, or being able to physically see the bone in the socket are good indicators that you may have dry socket. Symptoms usually occur about 2 days after tooth extraction. Because of the size and location of wisdom teeth, they are particularly vulnerable to dry socket, especially if the teeth are impacted.
Aspirin or ibuprofen may be taken to ease the discomfort. In extreme cases, stronger drugs or a local anaesthetic may be used. Your oral surgeon will be able to clean and dress the socket and even fill it with a paste to promote healing and reduce pain. After wisdom teeth extraction, you should avoid smoking, birth control pills, drinking through a straw, and excessive rinsing or spitting as these may increase healing time and pain.
For more information on dry socket after wisdom teeth extraction in Raleigh, contact Davis Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center in Raleigh, or call 919-488-2194 to schedule a consultation.