How To Prevent Dry Socket After Having Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

29 March 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Healing from wisdom tooth extraction is not usually as painful as you might imagine. After a few days of rest, soft foods, and pain killers, you should be able to return to your normal routine. That is, as long as you avoid dry socket. Dry socket is a painful condition in which the blood clot that forms in your empty tooth socket becomes dislodged, exposing the nerves in this area and causing intense pain. Luckily, there are several ways to reduce your risk of dry socket after wisdom tooth removal surgery.

Don't smoke.

If you're a smoker, you'll have to stay away from the habit for at least a few days after surgery. The toxins in cigarettes as well as the suction action of inhalation can increase your risk of dry socket greatly. If your cravings are too intense, use a nicotine patch to keep them at bay. (Don't chew nicotine gum – this will expose your surgical sites to nicotine much like smoking would).

Avoid straws.

You're going to be enjoying a lot of soft foods and fluids, like smoothies and shakes, in the days following your surgery. Though it might seem easier to drink these through a straw than to sip them from a cup, you should stay away from straws. The suction action of sipping though a straw can physically pull the blood clot out of your socket.

Be gentle when you rinse.

Rinsing your mouth out with salt water or an antiseptic rinse prescribed by your dentist is important for the healing process. However, you need to make sure you do this gently so you do not dislodge your blood clots. Do not vigorously swish the rinse around your mouth and through your teeth like you would when you regularly use mouthwash. Instead, gently swirl it around your mouth and let it cascade over your surgical sites. Rinse over a sink to avoid making messes.

Avoid intense exercise.

There's nothing wrong with taking a walk or a low-key bike ride in the days following your surgery. In fact, this can be good for your mindset and for healing. However, you want to avoid very intense exercise like running, swimming, or hard cycling. Exercise that raises your pulse and blood pressure too much might loosen your blood clots and contribute to dry socket formation. Ask your dentist when it is safe for you to return to vigorous exercise; this will depend on what specific exercise you intend to perform and how deeply impacted your teeth were.