When one of your teeth is extracted, a blood clot should form to help the healing process and protect the nerves and bone beneath. However, that clot may sometimes fail to form properly or break down once it has. This results in a condition called alveolar osteitis, which is commonly known as dry socket.
Dry socket often requires no professional intervention, but complications can arise. As such, it's often a good idea to see a dentist as soon as possible should you find yourself suffering from dry socket. Here are just four reasons why.
1. Prevent Infection
Dry socket leaves the nerves and bone exposed, so infections can sometimes develop when food and other debris collect within the socket. Infections can remain in the socket or spread to the bone, which can lead to serious complications and the need for further dental procedures. Common signs of an infection include fever, chills, swelling, redness and discharge from the extraction site. Your dentist will be able to provide any necessary antibiotics to remove infections, and they'll also clean the extraction site to prevent further infection.
2. Check for Fragments of Bone or Tooth
If your dentist suspects an infection may have spread to the bone, they may take an X-ray. This may also be done to check if there are any small fragments of bone or tooth root left in the extraction site. Such fragments can prevent a clot from forming properly, and they sometimes need to be removed to prevent further issues. If this is the case, it's best to have those fragments removed as soon as possible so you won't need to go through another healing period.
3. Manage Pain
Dry socket is often an extremely painful condition since the nerves will be left exposed. As such, acute pain is one of the main reasons patients seek out assistance. Your dentist should be able to reduce the level of pain you experience by flushing the socket to remove irritants, packing it with medicated dressings and prescribing any necessary pain relief. They can also tell you how to provide self-care at home by regularly flushing out the area, and this will further help reduce discomfort.
4. Improve Recovery Time
The blood clot that develops after an extraction is part of the normal healing process, so healing can be delayed when dry socket develops. Your dentist probably won't be able to reverse this healing setback completely, but they will be able to apply gauze and clean out the socket in order to minimize further healing delays.
For more information, reach out to an emergency dentist near you.