What is Dry Socket and How to Avoid it

Dry socket is a common term that can be heard often when discussing dental health. Many people know the name of it, but don’t truly know what it is or what causes it. The biggest issue patients run into is thinking it’s not as easy to get as they think. This results in disregarding the precautionary steps given to them by their dental professional. The best way to avoid dry socket is to understand what it is and how to avoid it. Here is some pertinent information that will help you understand the ins and outs of dry socket.

What Exactly Is Dry Socket?

The official term for dry socket is “alveolar osteitis.” It can occur after an adult tooth has been extracted. You see after a tooth is removed, it’s important for a blood clot to form in the hole left behind. If it doesn’t, this leaves the wound open, exposing the bone and nerves. The blood clot acts as a barrier of protection once the tooth is removed and until the wound has healed enough. When bones and nerves are exposed, this can cause air, food, bacteria, etc. to come into contact with them. This results in a lot of pain, which is the last thing a patient wants to add on top of the after effects of a tooth extraction.

How Do I Avoid Dry Socket?

A dentist and their team will be thorough in warning each patient, after an extraction, about dry socket and how to avoid it. Follow the instructions given to you closely to avoid dry socket. The best way to avoid dry socket is to not do any rigours exercise for around three days following the procedure. Avoid straws or any sucking motion and try to stick to soft foods, hard or sticky foods are a common culprit in dislodging the blood clot. Steer clear of any tobacco products including vaping, which involves a sucking motion with the mouth. Tobacco products in general will dissolve the blood clot before the wound of an extraction site is fully healed.

Keeping the mouth as clean as possible during the healing process is vital. Bacteria left in the mouth will dissolve the blood clot early and could cause infection. For the first day or so, it’s proper etiquette to not brush your teeth, but simply swish water gently around your mouth. When you begin brushing, do it gently and carefully around the extraction site. There will be pain after an extraction and a dental professional provides pain medication for a certain period of time following the procedure. However, some patients are at risk of this medication affecting the blood clot. Be sure to ask your dentist about this risk and if you’re a candidate for it.


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Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”