If you have a tooth causing problems for the rest of your smile, a dentist may need to remove it through oral surgery called a tooth extraction. You can anticipate some downtime as you heal from this dental procedure. And you will notice a blood clot forming at the surgical site during your recovery.
You should not touch or disturb these healing blood clots. Or you could risk exposing the underlying bone in nerves at the surgical site. This could lead to an extremely painful condition called dry socket. If you develop dry socket, you will need an emergency appointment with your dentist to fix the problem.
However, your dentist will provide you with aftercare advice to ensure you do not form dry socket following this treatment. Read on to find three tips from your dentist that will help you avoid dry socket after a tooth extraction procedure.
Practice Careful Oral Hygiene
Though you should not disrupt a healing blood clot at a surgical site after a tooth extraction, you still need to take care of your oral health with proper hygiene. You must clean your teeth to protect them from dental hazards like tooth decay. But oral hygiene also reduces your risk for infection at the surgical site.
However, you need to be careful when you brush and floss your teeth, especially near the surgical site. This way, you do not hurt the blood clot and cause dry socket. Your dentist will also provide you with guidelines to properly and safely care for your smile during this recovery period.
These will include pain management for any potential discomfort as you heal. But if you suffer extreme pain, notify your dentist about the issue because it could point to dry socket.
Avoid Sucking Motions in the Mouth
The combination of airflow and muscle movement when you perform a sucking motion with your mouth can very easily dislodge or disturb a healing blood clot and lead to dry socket. So for this reason, dentists will ask their patients to avoid using a straw and making similar oral movements for at least one week after a tooth extraction.
Because it poses the same risk when you inhale, your dentist will also recommend stopping smoking. To improve your ability to abstain from this habit during this period, you might want to cut back on smoking prior to your oral surgery.
Stick to Soft Foods
Your mouth may feel sore after a tooth extraction procedure once you return home from the dentist’s office and the anesthetics wear off. So you may feel more comfortable sticking to soft-textured foods to avoid further pain. But eating soft foods will also help you prevent dry socket.
Sticky, hard, or chewy foods might hurt the healing blood clot and give you dry socket. So stick to softer foods like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and yogurt for at least 48 hours after this procedure. You may introduce more solid foods after this time, but if you feel pain, revert back to soft foods.