How to Reduce The Chance of Dry Socket after Wisdom Tooth Removal
After a wisdom tooth is extracted, a blood clot normally forms in the hole left in the gum, protecting the exposed nerves during the healing process. If the clot is dislodged, a painful condition known as "dry socket" results. Dentists recommend that patients follow some simple precautions to minimize the risk of dry socket.
Care in eating and drinking is essential to avoid dry socket. Food can dislodge the blood clot. If possible, chew on the opposite side of the mouth from the surgical site. If wisdom teeth are removed from both sides, soft food that requires little of no chewing is advisable.
Liquids can also dislodge the clot. It's best to avoid any hot or cold liquids and stick to the cool-to-tepid range. Drinking through a straw can cause a problem, because of the suction created inside the mouth.
A common cause of dry socket is excessive rinsing of the mouth. While this may seem like a good hygienic practice, it can dissolve the blood clot. Rinsing after a meal is a good idea, but it should be done gently. Tepid salt water is the best rinsing solution.
Smoking should be avoided, since it can dislodge the blood clot through contamination.
Since higher estrogen levels can contribute dry socket, women can reduce their risk by nearly half by scheduling wisdom tooth extraction in the last five days of the menstrual cycle.
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