Going to the dentist isn't any fun, but it is one of those things that just has to be done. For years, I fought the process and didn't go for my regular cleanings and in the end, it sure didn't pay to do so. I ended up spending ten times as much time in the chair and a boat-load of money in dental repairs. If you don't like going to the dentist, you can make it easier on yourself. This blog will show you a few tips that can help you improve the experience and get through the treatment without as much discomfort.
Wisdom teeth are removed for a wide variety of reasons. For instance, your mouth may not have enough room for the third molars to fit in behind the second molars. Also, if you have a relatively small mouth, then it may be hard for you to work a toothbrush behind and around the teeth. Cavities are then likely to form in the teeth, so wisdom teeth are often removed well before this can happen. But if you have a wisdom tooth removal scheduled, then you may be concerned about complications. Dry socket is one of the worst complications that you will need to be worried about. Keep reading to learn about dry socket and how it can be prevented.
What Is Dry Socket?
When your wisdom teeth are pulled, large openings are left behind in the jaw. The openings fill in with blood and a clot will form. This clot will stop the socket from bleeding, and it will also create a barrier between the jawbone and the open mouth. This helps to keep the sensitive nerves covered and protected from bacteria, saliva, and food. Stitches are used to keep the socket closed and to help the clot form close to the jawbone. However, stitches will start dissolving within three to four days. Once the stitches dissolve, the wisdom tooth sockets will be open and blood clots can move out of the openings.
If one of the socket clots is dislodged in some way, the jawbone will be exposed. Exposure to air and bacteria will cause the nerves to send distress signals to the brain. The result will be stabbing and throbbing pain coming from the socket, which is normally referred to as dry socket.
How Can Dry Socket Be Avoided?
You can avoid dry socket by preparing for the wisdom tooth removal in advance. Specifically, you should avoid items that may cause clotting issues. In some cases of dry socket, the blood clot never forms to protect the jaw bone. In other cases, the blood clot is not nearly as thick as it should be. This may be an issue if you take aspirin, anticoagulants, blood thinners, or any other medication that thins the blood. If you take a medication to reduce blood clots or heart attack risks, then speak with your dentist about whether or not these medicines should be stopped for a short period of time before your wisdom tooth extraction surgery.
Some foods and vitamins will naturally thin the blood, so you should avoid these things before your dental treatment. Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and vitamin E can naturally thin out the blood. Oral contraceptives can increase your risk of dry socket too. Thankfully, risks can be greatly reduced by having the extraction scheduled between day 23 and 28 of your contraceptive pack.
How Is Dry Socket Treated?
If you feel intense pain around your extraction sites a few days after the tooth removal procedure, then make arrangements to see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will use water to clean away food and bacteria that have moved into the socket. A dressing will be placed inside the socket to help soothe discomfort. The dressing will contain a substance called dry socket paste. The paste will contain medication or natural clove oil to relieve pain.
Your dentist will need to replace the dressing over the tooth socket every few days as you start to heal. Dressings will be removed entirely once tissues start to fill in the space close to the jawbone. Pain medications are typically prescribed as well. Since dry socket is such a painful condition, your dentist may supply you with steroidal or narcotic pain relievers that can be taken for a short period of time.
Wisdom tooth extractions can lead to complications like dry socket. However, if you do your best to prepare for the tooth removal and if you work hard to take care of the socket afterwards, then the problem probably will not occur. If it does, then your dentist can treat the problem fairly easily.
Talk with a dentist, such as Dale D. Lentz DDS, for more information and details.