Dry Socket and Wisdom Teeth Removal

By Montefiore Medical Center
September 15, 2016

Dry socket is one of the most common complications after tooth extraction, as with wisdom teeth removal. Not all patients who have their wisdom teeth removed will get dry socket, but if you’re experiencing certain symptoms, it’s possible that you have this complication.

Defining Dry Socket
While relatively rare, dry socket occurs when your jawbone becomes inflamed after tooth extraction. Throbbing pain, bad breath and a foul taste in your mouth are all indications of dry socket, which typically occurs about two to four days after your tooth is extracted.

Causes of Dry Socket
Once your tooth has been removed, a blood clot will form in order to begin the healing process and to protect your underlying jawbone. If this blood clot breaks loose, either partially or completely, a dry socket will result, exposing the bone and delaying the healing process.

Who is at Greater Risk?
Some of the most prominent risk factors for developing dry socket include:

  • Smokers. The nicotine in cigarettes reduces your blood supply, making it more difficult for your blood to clot at the extraction site.
  • Those with impacted wisdom teeth. When your third molars (or wisdom teeth) are removed, it may be necessary to remove surrounding gum tissue and jawbone, which can cause trauma to the mouth and increase the onset of dry socket.
  • Periodontal disease. You may be more likely to develop dry socket if you’ve had previous mouth infections like periodontal disease.
  • Patients over age 30. As you age, your jawbone becomes more dense, meaning less blood supply is going to your jawbone. This can make blood clotting more difficult.

Treatment
Treating dry socket typically involves a trip to your dentist, who may gently wash the socket clean of food debris. A medicated dressing is then used to cover the socket and exposed bone, which should be replaced every few days as you heal. Medication may also be prescribed, but pain relief can generally be achieves by taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or ibuprofen.

Want to learn more about dry socket treatment? Contact the Montefiore Department of Dentistry.
For more information about any of the services we offer, please contact Drs. Kraut, Rogoff, Newsome and Kakanantadilok. Our office is located in the Bronx and can be reached at 888-700-6623. We look forward to meeting you!

Wisdom tooth removal

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