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Dry Socket – Denver, CO

Helpful Aftercare Tips Following Wisdom Tooth Removal

A woman getting rest about wisdom tooth removal

We provide many different treatments at Altitude Oral & Facial Surgery and our oral surgeons work hard to make your treatment as successful as possible. Once your treatment is complete, it’s important to follow proper aftercare instructions to avoid complications in your care. This is why our surgeons always take the time to break down what you can expect as part of your aftercare and how you can avoid conditions like dry socket along the way. If you have questions about specific aftercare tips or need to see us for emergency treatment, call us today!

What is Dry Socket?

A man with dry socket in Denver

Dry socket is a condition that can occur following removal of teeth, including the third molars. Since it is most common after wisdom teeth are removed, especially from the lower arch, it’s very important to follow all aftercare instructions provided by your doctor. Once a tooth is removed, the extraction site needs time to form a blood clot and begin the healing process. After the clot forms, the nerve endings and bone beneath it are thoroughly protected.

However, if this blood clot becomes loosened and dislodges, the nerve can become exposed, resulting in severe discomfort. Not only will this impede the healing process, but it can make it extremely difficult to perform day-to-day activities. In this instance, we can redress the extraction site to mimic a lost blood clot and promote healing.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Socket

A young man smiling while holding a toothbrush.

If a dry socket appears, it will likely do so about two to four days following the removal of your wisdom tooth. The most common symptoms to appear first is moderate to severe discomfort in the extraction site. However, there are many other indicators to look out for as you undergo the healing process. They include:

  • Sensitivity to temperature
  • Severe discomfort that lingers or increases after the first few days of healing
  • Visible opening of soft tissue or supportive bone structure, which typically occurs after the dry socket forms
  • Foul breath emitting from the extraction site
  • Constant bad taste in the mouth
  • Severe facial swelling (which indicates an infection)

How to Prevent Dry Socket

A young woman speaking with an oral surgeon.

While dry socket can be unfortunate, there are many ways you can prevent it from occurring. Take note of these tips below and you’ll be well on your way to recovery following your wisdom tooth removal.

  • Avoid straws throughout your healing phase. Suction can easily disrupt and even dislodge the blood clot.
  • Get plenty of rest the day of and after your treatment.
  • Avoid spitting forcefully as this can also dislodge the clot.
  • Do not use tobacco under any circumstances. Not only can tobacco smoke inhibit healing of oral tissue, but inhaling smoke too quickly can lead to air movement which dislodges the clot.
  • Stick to a diet of soft food. This should be done for at least the first 24 hours after surgery. Soft foods include yogurt, soup, stews, applesauce, mashed potatoes, gelatin, ice cream, soft-cooked pasta and beans, smoothies, scrambled eggs, and other foods that do not require vigorous chewing.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise for the next 24 to 48 hours.
  • Practice brushing and flossing as usual while making sure to avoid the extraction site for the next couple days. Use extreme caution when brushing near the extraction site.
  • Contact our office the second you notice any signs or symptoms of dry socket.