Dry Socket Wisdom Teeth – Advice from Your Oral Surgeon in San Mateo

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Date: April 18, 2023

Author: Dr. Adam Fagin

Dry Socket Wisdom Teeth – Advice from Your Oral Surgeon in San Mateo

When surgeries are carefully planned and performed, complications from wisdom teeth removal are rare. However, there is some risk of developing dry socket wisdom teeth. A dry socket can be particularly painful and can lead to further complications.

Here’s what you need to know about dry socket wisdom teeth and what you should do if you experience any of the symptoms after your treatment.

What is Dry Socket Wisdom Teeth?

Dry socket wisdom teeth, also known simply as dry socket, is an irritation of the underlying bone of the jaw after the wisdom tooth has been removed. A dry socket wisdom teeth is like a sunburn. It is not dangerous, but it can be painful while it is healing. Just like a sunburn it will get better on its own, even if left untreated, but it is uncomfortable while it is healing. Similar to how you can make a sunburn feel better while it’s healing using aloe, a topical medicine. Your surgeon can place a topical medicine into the socket to make the dry socket wisdom teeth feel better as it healing. This doesn’t make the dry socket heal faster, but it does make it stop hurting while it is healing so the experience to the patient is very similar.

Why Does Dry Socket Wisdom Teeth Occur?

In the best-case scenario, a blood clot will form in the socket where a wisdom tooth has been extracted. If you have more than one or all of your wisdom teeth removed, then a clot should form at the socket from each extraction. The clot protects the nerve endings and initiates the process of tissue healing. Most people will recover from wisdom tooth extraction over a period of around two weeks, and the blood clot will typically form within the first 24 hours.

However, sometimes a blood clot doesn’t develop, and this is what’s known as dry socket wisdom teeth. Nerve endings are exposed in this scenario, which can cause severe pain. In some cases, the blood clot can form and then dissolve or dislodge before the socket heals, leading to severe pain several days after the extraction.

It’s not fully known why dry socket wisdom teeth can occur, but some factors are known to increase the risk of this complication.

What Do We Do To Prevent Dry Socket Wisdom Teeth?

In order to reduce the risk of developing dry socket wisdom teeth your surgeon will draw some of your blood at the time of surgery. We will use this blood to concentrate natural growth factors within your blood and create a substance called, platelet rich fibrin (PRF). After the wisdom teeth are removed this platelet rich fibrin is placed into the socket of the wisdom teeth to help jump start the healing process, reduce the risk of dry socket, and reduce your post operative discomfort.

Risk Factors for Dry Socket Wisdom Teeth

After wisdom tooth extraction, you’ll need to avoid brushing and rinsing for the first 24 hours. This allows time for a blood clot to form. If you create pressure in your mouth through gargling, or even drinking through a straw, then there’s a risk of the blood clot becoming dislodged. Sucking motions in particular will increase the risk of developing a dry socket.

Some other risk factors include…

  • Smoking or vaping while you are healing from a wisdom tooth extraction.
  • Prolonged surgical procedures.
  • Chewing gum after extraction.
  • Failing to follow aftercare instructions provided by your oral surgeon.
  • Having a condition that compromises your body’s healing response, such as diabetes.

Because prolonged surgical procedure time is one of the most significant risk factors for dry socket wisdom teeth, we recommend you see a surgeon who specializes in the removal of wisdom teeth. All of our surgeons have received additional residency training specifically in the removal of wisdom teeth and are extremely skilled and experienced at wisdom teeth removal. This experience translates to reduced complication rates including dry sockets or infections. While your risk for developing dry socket wisdom teeth is never zero, having your wisdom teeth removed by an experienced specialist like those at Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery does reduce your risk.

The risk of developing a dry socket is highest in the first four days after surgery. So it’s important to monitor pain during this time. If pain and discomfort seem to worsen rather than improve in the first week, then you should schedule an appointment for evaluation.

The Symptoms of Dry Socket After Extraction

Pain is the most obvious and most severe symptom of a dry socket, but there are some other signs you should look for…

  • Inflammation around the extraction site doesn’t seem to improve.
  • A persistent foul taste in your mouth.
  • Persistent bad breath.
When Should You Call Your Oral Surgeon?

You can talk to our surgeons any time that you feel you are experiencing problems after surgery. Some of the clear signs that you need to speak to a dental professional include…

  • The pain is so severe that it can’t be managed with pain medication and hasn’t subsided after the first four days.
  • The pain is worsening rather than lessening.
  • You’ve noticed any of the symptoms described in the previous section.

A dry socket shouldn’t be ignored. Without a blood clot, the healing process can be significantly more painful. With exposure, there’s an increased risk of infection in the socket. This infection can spread to the jaw bone and cause severe bone loss that can compromise the health of surrounding teeth.

Our team can provide effective treatment for a dry socket so that healing is comfortable and effective.

Treatment for a Dry Socket

If a dry socket does develop, in-office treatments can include…

  • Irrigating the socket to remove infected materials, and packing the socket to prevent exposure.
  • Placement of a topical medicine which soothes the irritated bone to reduce pain.
  • Providing antibiotics to treat any infection that has been developed.

Choose Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery for Expert Wisdom Tooth Removal

Choosing an experienced and trusted practitioner can reduce the likelihood of developing dry socket wisdom teeth. If you need wisdom teeth extraction, you can book your appointment at Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery to begin the consultation process.

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