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Dry Socket Dread with Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth patients should follow their oral surgeon’s advice
to avoid this painful condition.

Having a dry socket may sound bad, but it actually feels worse.
Advancements in wisdom teeth removal as a procedure has been streamlined to become safer than ever (just as long as the procedure is performed by a qualified oral surgeon). But one possible outcome that still tends to happen sometimes is known scientifically as alveolar osteitis but patients know it as dry socket. Dry socket can lead to serious infection and pain. To combat this from happening to you, we have outlined a series of steps that will prevent dry socket from happening if followed correctly.

A protective blood clot forms in the space where the wisdom tooth (or teeth) were extracted and this helps to guard the nerves in the jaw and the jaw bone. In a few cases, that protective blood clot may become dislodged or dissolve from the site before healing is complete. This unfortunate occurrence exposes the empty socket to bacteria and opens up the possibility of infection. If a dry socket does happen, we usually treat this complication by washing out the area and applying an ointment. Depending on the severity of the infection, some patients need antibiotics, as well.

Dry socket only afflicts a small fraction of patients following wisdom teeth removal. It is estimated that about 1 in 20 develop a dry socket. But believe us when we say — you want to do everything you can to not be one of them! Here is a series of recommended steps to follow before and after surgery. These steps help to ensure this condition is avoided.

Steps before wisdom tooth removal:
  • Please notify us of any medications you take. (This include any supplements, too!)
  • We may ask that you use oral antibiotics prior to the procedure, depending on your specific condition.
  • An antibacterial mouthwash may be necessary, but we will notify you if this is the case.
Steps for after wisdom tooth removal:
  • We do recommend that you keep your mouth clean. This can be accomplished by light brushing of your teeth.
  • Do not use mouthwashes or rinses until we tell you it is ok to do so.
  • Please rest for an entire day following surgery. Any strenuous exercise or activity can slow the healing process and you are more susceptible to complications.
  • The day after the extraction, patients typically rinse gently with warm salt water every two hours and following meals.
  • Healing happens when you are hydrated! We ask that you drink lots of water, and avoid any alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks and hot beverages.
  • You cannot use a straw while your surgical sites are healing. This is the number one way blood clots become dislodged.
  • We recommend you eat soft foods only while you heal. Any hard or sharp foods tend to puncture the surgical sites.
  • We really have to stress that smoking or using any other tobacco is not recommended.
If you are looking for a qualified and specially trained oral surgeon to remove your wisdom teeth, we are happy to schedule a consultation appointment and answer your questions. Call us at (406) 655-0170 today!
To learn more about how we can help improve your smile, please request an appointment now.
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Billings Oral Surgery
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