If you need your wisdom teeth removed, you’ve probably heard of the dreaded “dry socket.” This painful dental condition occurs when the blood clot that develops at your extraction site doesn’t form or becomes dislodged. Without it, nerves and bone in the area become exposed, slowing the healing process and causing significant pain.
Dry socket is the most common complication dentists see with tooth extraction and occurs with 38% of wisdom teeth removals. However, just because it’s a common problem doesn’t mean you can’t prevent it.
Our team at The Dental Touch can guide you through the wisdom teeth extraction process, including the steps you should take after your procedure to avoid dry sockets.
If you have an appointment on the horizon to have your wisdom teeth removed, here’s what you can do to avoid this complication.
Don’t use straws
Every time you use a straw, you create suction in your mouth with your cheek muscles and air. This act alone can easily dislodge a blood clot from your extraction site, so stick to cups, glasses, and bottles when staying hydrated after your appointment.
Say no to smoking
Studies show that dry socket occurred in 12% of patients who smoked after having a tooth removed compared to 4% of nonsmokers. And these numbers apply to all forms of smoking, not just tobacco.
The fast rate of inhalation caused by smoking can easily dislodge a blood clot. However, that’s not all. The products you smoke can also contain chemicals that interfere with the healing process and increase your chances of infection.
Ready to quit? Talk to our team about steps you can take before your procedure to ease your withdrawal. If you’re not ready to quit, our team can offer guidance on when and how to resume smoking without putting your surgical site at risk.
Pass on happy hour
A drink may seem tempting, but you should avoid any alcohol for at least 24 hours after having your wisdom teeth out. And, along similar lines, don’t use mouthwashes containing alcohol.
Alcohol can stimulate bleeding and delay the healing process.
Avoid strenuous activity
You don’t need to be on bed rest after having your wisdom teeth removed. However, that doesn’t mean you should resume strenuous work or exercise immediately.
Instead, wait at least 24 hours to resume normal activities and take a break from vigorous exercise and sports for as long as possible. We can provide personalized recommendations on a case-by-case basis.
No matter how well you feel after having your wisdom teeth removed, spend the first day after your surgery consuming soft food items like yogurt, mashed potatoes, and applesauce. Similarly, stay away from hot, hard, crunchy, or sticky options that can get stuck in your socket — and anything that could create a sucking motion in your mouth, like soup.
When you start adding heartier foods back to your diet, avoid chewing in areas where the extractions occurred and stop immediately if you experience any pain.
Practice proper oral hygiene
You probably know it’s essential to keep the wound clean. But did you know that goes for incisions in your mouth too?
Our team can provide detailed instructions on how to care for your teeth, gums, and mouth after having your wisdom teeth removed. In most cases, you usually start by rinsing your mouth the first day, using care to let the fluid fall from your mouth (don’t create suction by spitting). You can often resume gentle brushing the next day.
Following our cleaning instructions plays an important step in keeping infection and germs from breaking down your blood clot.
Talk about your medications in advance
If you take any medications, oral contraceptives, or supplements, talk to our team to confirm they couldn’t interfere with blood clot formation.
With our help, you can rest easy knowing that you should feel better after your wisdom teeth extraction within about three days.
Want to learn more about avoiding dry sockets? Contact The Dental Touch in Oakland, California, to schedule a consultation by calling 510-324-9096 or booking a visit online today.