When it comes to oral surgery, few procedures are as common as wisdom tooth extraction. For many people, having their wisdom teeth removed is a rite of passage that marks the transition to adulthood. Removing problematic wisdom teeth can help eliminate the pain of an impacted tooth and prevent complications, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and pericoronitis.
While the recovery process can be uncomfortable, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of developing a painful condition called dry socket. Dry socket happens when the protective blood clot 一 which your body naturally forms to protect your extraction site 一 is dislodged. When the blood clot is dislodged, it can expose your tooth nerves. Dry socket, a painful and uncomfortable condition, can significantly delay the healing process.
Here are some tips to prevent dry socket after wisdom tooth extraction, courtesy of Dr. Lovely Manlapaz Teodoro.
Be gentle with your mouth
Avoid anything that can dislodge the protective blood clot at your extraction sites. One of the best ways to do this is to be gentle with your entire mouth.
Specifically, avoid using straws, sucking anything (including popsicles), or vigorously rinsing your mouth after surgery, as this can dislodge the blood clot and delay the healing process.
Stick to a soft diet and avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the tooth was removed. A few nutritious foods that won’t hurt your gums include mashed potatoes, soup, smoothies and shakes, scrambled eggs, applesauce, cottage cheese, yogurt, and any pureed vegetable. If you do enjoy popsicles (which can help soothe your mouth and reduce inflammation), lick them rather than suck them.
Keep the extraction site clean
While you should avoid rinsing your mouth too vigorously, it is still important to keep the extraction site clean. Gently rinse your mouth with saltwater, as directed by Dr. Teodoro, to help keep the area clean, remove food debris, and reduce the risk of infection.
Pain and discomfort are common after wisdom tooth extraction, but taking over-the-counter pain medication as directed can help manage your symptoms and prevent the need for additional procedures that can increase the risk of dry socket.
Smoking or using tobacco products can significantly increase your risk of developing dry socket. Tobacco use can interfere with the healing process and damage the blood clot that forms in the extraction site.
If you are a smoker, it is best to quit smoking altogether, but if you cannot do so, refrain from smoking for at least 2-4 days after your wisdom tooth extraction. This also includes vaping and using e-cigarettes.
Follow our aftercare instructions
Our team provides you with detailed aftercare instructions to follow after your wisdom tooth extraction. Not only does this help prevent dry socket, but our aftercare instructions also help you avoid other complications, such as infections. Follow these instructions carefully to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Need to talk about wisdom teeth extractions?
At the Dental Center of Hercules, we understand that having your wisdom teeth extracted can be a daunting experience, but we are here to make the process as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
Our team of experienced dental professionals is dedicated to providing you with compassionate and expert care, from the moment you walk through our doors to your follow-up appointments. If you have any concerns or questions about your wisdom tooth extraction or aftercare, don't hesitate to reach out to our team for guidance and support.
To schedule a wisdom teeth extraction consultation, call our Hercules, California, office at 510-254-3328.