Even though they aren’t life-threatening, dry sockets can be extremely painful. They are very common following oral surgery and happen to be one of the most painful post extraction problems. Dry sockets are more common with the removal of the lower teeth than they are with the removal of upper teeth. No matter what type of extraction you have performed, a dry socket can occur.
A dry socket is a condition where the blood clot that forms after an extraction detaches itself from the socket walls. Sometimes, the clot will dissolve, leaving the bone exposed to food, the weather, and even saliva. Once the bone is exposed, it can become inflamed and the inflammation that occurs can be extremely painful.
Although there is really no way to prevent a dry socket, you can help to reduce the risk by following your doctors after surgery directions. Even though you may be following the directions precisely, you could still end up with a dry socket. Those who are more at risk to dry sockets include those who smoke following extractions and those who like to grind their teeth frequently.
If you leave it alone, the dry socket will heal. It will normally take around a month or so, although the pain won’t let up during the healing period. If you have a dry socket, you’ll find that antibiotics and even the strongest of the prescription drugs won’t cure it. An antibiotic will normally cure infections, although a dry socket isn’t considered to be an infection.
The best way to fight a dry socket is to go back to your dentist and have them pack the exposed area. It doesn’t take long to complete, and it can provide relief from the pain. Once the socket has been packed, you will be relieved from pain for a day or so. If you go back to your dentist, they will remove the old packing, wash the socket out, and place a new packing in. This way, you can get relief from the pain and help the socket heal. Keep in mind that it will take time to heal.