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Dry socket is a painful condition that may arise after a tooth is extracted. Typically when a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms. In the event the clot dissolves away too quickly, the bone may become exposed or dry. When a bone is exposed, it can cause extreme pain and requires prompt treatment so that it doesn’t worsen or become infected.

If you have a dry socket, there are a few initial signs and symptoms you may experience. These signs and symptoms include severe pain within a few days after you’ve had your tooth extracted, partial or total blood loss of blood clot at the site of extraction, and visible bone in the socket.

Fortunately, dry sockets only arise in 3% to 4% of all tooth extractions. In addition, there are some ways you can reduce your risk of developing them. Firstly, avoid using straws for at least one week after your extraction as the suction movement may dislodge your blood clot.

Next, avoid smoking so that the chemicals in cigarettes do not disrupt the healing process and leave you with an infection. If you cannot stop smoking, switch to a nicotine patch, ask your dentist for stitches at the surgery site, keep gauze over your socket while smoking, and distract yourself with something else when you’re in the mood to smoke.

Also, stick to soft foods such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, and applesauces and stay away from crunchy or sticky foods as they may get stuck in your socket. If you’re on birth control, schedule your procedure towards the end of your menstrual cycle as the estrogen in the medication may increase your risk of dry socket.

Contact Costa Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

If you have more questions on how to prevent dry socket, reach out to our Ashburn, VA office today at 703-439-1214.