I need to have a lower wisdom tooth extracted because of an impaction. I’ve spoken to someone else who’s had this done and they said they ended up with dry socket which was absolutely miserable. Is there anything I can do which can help to prevent this?
Dry socket is what happens when the blood clot dissolves or disappears leaving the nerves and bone exposed. It’s quite painful.
Some dentists tell their patients that dry socket will happen if they suck the blood clot out unintentionally and suggest the don’t drink through a straw until after the healing process is over.
There really isn’t much evidence for this. Though, obviously, you don’t want to do anything which will intentionally remove the blood clot.
Your Dentist is the Best Defense in Preventing Dry Socket
There are two things your dentist can do to prevent dry socket.
The first is to recognize that the greater the force used in extracting the tooth, the greater the chance of dry socket. To counter this, if a dentist encounters a tooth extraction which is requiring a greater than moderate elevator force it is better to section the tooth. Sometimes bone has to be removed in order to do this, but it can be done.
The second thing which helps is for your dentist to place a square of Gelfoam soaked in a suspension of clindamycin antibiotic into the socket after the extraction and suturing the tissue over it. An experiment was done which showed this. They tried it on patients with two wisdom tooth extractions. On one side they put the Gelfoam; on the other they didn’t. Only the teeth without the antibiotic developed dry socket.
You can let your dentist see this post prior to your wisdom tooth extraction, if you are concerned.
This blog is brought to you by Auburn Family Dentist Dr. Raymond Bolt.