Dry sockets happen when a tooth gets removed and the healing process is interrupted. Normally, a blood clot fills the void in your gums after a tooth has been extracted and the blood starts to absorb calcium from the jaw bone. In time, the blood calcifies and turns into bone, too. However, if the clot falls out of the socket before the transformation process takes place, a painful condition called “dry socket” can occur.
1. What creates a dry socket?
When the clot falls out, an opening gets created to let food and other substances get into the void. The bacteria on these substances can cause an infection that will inflame the socket. You will need immediate dental attention to remove the bacteria and foreign objects to stop the infection and get some pain relief.
2. How is a dry socket treated?
Your dentist will usually clean out the socket using a device that has a plastic tip that curves upward. The device can grab under and around objects to pull them out of the void in your mouth. The device utilizes sterilized water to produce a stream that is also used to force food particles and other matter out of your socket. A min-vacuum is then used to extract whatever particles might remain after the cleaning and flushing has taken place.
The socket is then usually packed with sterile gauze to close the opening while the socket heals. The gauze typically has a medicated paste on it that reduces the chances of further inflammation and to promote healing. The gauze generally has to be replaced every few days or so by your dentist. This process can last for up to a couple of weeks.
3. How to deal with the pain?
You should feel better as soon as the gauze is placed into the empty socket. However, there is a chance you will feel some continuing discomfort for a little bit while everything heals. Our dentist in Chandler AZ may prescribe a mild anti-inflammatory drug such as an ibuprofen to help with the pain. A corticosteroid drug is often used in more severe cases.