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What You Need to Know About Dry Socket

Having a tooth removed can be painful enough without the fear of developing dry socket post-extraction.

Dry socket is a hole in the mouth that is created when a tooth is removed. The hole is typically covered by a blood clot, which protects the nerve from exposure to air, the elements, and other things that can cause infection and lead to pain.

If the clot is dislodged before the socket has healed, then it becomes exposed to everything, food, air, and other elements. This exposure leads to dryness in the socket, which causes pain. This can be extremely painful because air, food, or other things can get into the socket. To treat the pain, try over-the-counter medicines, but if the pain is too severe, you may need a prescription for pain medicine from your dentist or oral surgeon.

If after your extraction you think that your clot may have been dislodged, call your dentist immediately. If food or other irritants get into the socket and stay there without attention from your dentist, an infection can occur. But, if you see your dentist, they can clean the socket and pack it with gauze to protect it. Your dentist might also recommend an antibiotic to prevent infection.

The best way to avoid getting a dry socket is to avoid drinking from a straw and smoking. These activities can dislodge your clot and open your socket up to air and the elements. Also, certain birth control pills can prevent effective blood clotting, so make sure to discuss all medications with your dentist before extraction.

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