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If you just had a tooth extracted or will have one in the near future, you may want to educate yourself on a condition called dry socket. Dry socket is exceedingly rare, occurring in only 2-5% of patients who have an extraction. It can be very uncomfortable, but is easily treatable.

The term “socket” refers to the hole in the jawbone where your tooth was removed. Your body should form a blood clot in the socket to protect the bone and nerves underneath. Dry socket occurs when the clot comes out of the socket before the gums have healed over, leaving the underlying tissue and bone exposed, resulting in possible infections and pain.

To lower your risk of dry socket, avoid tobacco before and for 3-5 days after the surgery. If you take birth control pills, ask to schedule the surgery on a day when you’re taking your lowest dose. Check to see if certain medications you are taking may interfere with blood clotting. After your extraction, you’ll want to avoid drinking through a straw, rinsing your mouth excessively, or spitting a lot.

If you think you already have dry socket, please visit Dr. Nattiv immediately. If an over-the-counter pain medicine is not enough for the pain, your doctor may be able to prescribe something stronger. Dr. Nattiv will clean the tooth socket and fill it with a special paste or dressing to help it heal. You may need to come back into the office every few days so that the socket can be checked and redressed. You might also be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection.

If you have any questions about your upcoming extraction or if you are suffering from dry socket, please call Polished Dental in Beverly Hills, CA, at 310-278-8005. We’re here to support you and your oral health care.