Having wisdom teeth removed is a common dental procedure that is usually safe. However, you can develop a condition called a dry socket after this surgery if you’re not careful. A dry socket can cause you to experience considerable pain and discomfort. Learn more about why this can happen and how you can lower your risk of having to deal with it if you need to have your wisdom teeth taken out.

Dry Socket

After you have your wisdom teeth removed, you should develop a blood clot in each area where a tooth was pulled. These clots provide protection from bacteria and keep the nerves covered to lower the risk of pain. If you accidentally disturb these clots, a dry socket can form in their place. This dry socket increases your risk of experiencing pain and developing an infection. Having a dry socket also leads to a slower healing process overall. Taking steps to prevent a dry socket can help ensure that your recovery from wisdom teeth removal goes more smoothly.

Dry Socket Prevention

What can you do to stop a dry socket from occurring? You should follow all of your dentist’s instructions for protecting and caring for the affected areas until they fully heal. Your dentist’s instructions might include the following in order to reduce your risk of having a dry socket develop.

Eat Soft Foods at First

You might need to limit your diet to soft foods only after having your wisdom teeth removed. This helps lower your risk of having food disturb the blood clots in the healing areas. If possible, you should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that you had teeth removed from. Your dentist can let you know when it’s safe for you to go back to your normal diet and chew on the side that your wisdom teeth were removed from.

Avoid Straws and Certain Beverages

When you drink after wisdom teeth removal, don’t use a straw. Using straws creates a suction effect that could disturb blood clots and lead to a dry socket. Your dentist can let you know when you can use straws again. You should also avoid certain types of drinks that could affect the healing process and increase your risk of a dry socket, such as caffeinated drinks.

Clean with Care

You still need to brush your teeth after undergoing wisdom teeth removal. However, you should avoid brushing the affected areas for at least a day or as long as your dentist recommends. Brushing these areas soon after wisdom teeth removal can prevent blood clots from forming, which leads to a higher risk of having a dry socket. Your dentist can let you know how to care for the affected areas.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products can increase your risk of a dry socket. Using these products can lead to a higher amount of bacteria in the affected areas and dislodge blood clots that have formed. You should avoid smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco for a couple of days after wisdom teeth removal or for as long as your dentist recommends.

Get Rest

After a wisdom teeth removal, you should plan on resting. Sports and some other physical activities could put you at risk of being hit in the face or falling, which could accidentally disturb the blood clots in your mouth. Your dentist will tell you when it’s safe to resume your normal activities.

If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed or if you’re dealing with a dry socket, please contact Arvada Dental Center.