At Chester Family Dentistry in Warren, Ohio we provide comprehensive aftercare following tooth extractions to reduce your risk for dry sockets and ensure your gums heal fully. Ana M. Chester, DDS and Amy Caicco, DDS, provide some insight into what you can expect during a tooth extraction and how to prevent dry socket and other complications.
What to expect after a tooth extraction
A tooth extraction is a surgical procedure to remove a severely damaged or decayed tooth or to remove an impacted wisdom tooth.
After our team successfully removes the tooth, a blood clot forms in the extraction site to protect your underlying nerves and jawbone while your gum heals. A dry socket occurs when the clot comes out of the extraction site, which can cause pain and delay your healing process.
To keep the blood clot in place and to help your gums heal more efficiently, you need to follow the guidance of our team in the days after your extraction.
Tips for preventing dry socket
There are a number of things you can do unintentionally that will dislodge your blood clot and cause a dry socket. Some of the things our team will recommend that you avoid after your extraction surgery include:
Hard or chewy foods
In the initial days after your surgery, you should stick to a soft food diet to allow your gums time to heal. Choose foods like yogurt or mashed potatoes that don’t require much chewing until you’re able to tolerate other foods.
You also need to avoid chewy or crunchy foods that can irritate the extraction site and push out the blood clot. If you experience any discomfort or pain when resuming your normal diet, go back to a soft food diet for a day or two.
Tobacco and smoking
If you smoke or use tobacco, you’re at an increased risk for developing a dry socket following a tooth extraction. It’s very important that you avoid smoking after your surgery, because the act of inhaling can move your blood clot.
Additionally, the tobacco products you use contain chemicals that can slow down your healing and possibly lead to an infection.
Our dental team can also provide resources to help you quit smoking and using tobacco for good to reduce your risk for oral cancer and other complications.
Using a straw
Sucking up liquids through a straw can displace the blood clot in your extraction site. Our team can determine how long you should avoid using straws based on your overall oral health, but you can generally expect to ditch the straws for at least a week after your procedure.
There are certain medications including hormonal birth control that can interfere with the formation of a blood clot after an extraction.
Be sure to let our team know about any and all medications you’re taking before your extraction surgery. We can determine if you need to make any changes to your medication schedule before and after surgery.
Stay on top of your oral hygiene
While good oral hygiene is always important, you must keep your teeth and gums as clean as possible after an extraction.
Our team will provide guidance for brushing your teeth immediately after surgery. You might need to use a warm water rinse for the first day and switch to a soft toothbrush for about a week post-surgery.
Use gentle brushing movements around the extraction site to prevent dislodging the blood clot or irritating your gums.
For more information about preventing dry sockets after a tooth extraction, call our office to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online today.