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Dry Socket After An Extractions - Tips To Reduce Risks

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If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, then you are likely to get over the pain and discomfort after a day or two. This is especially true since the gums are made out of simple connective tissues formed from collagen. A mucous membrane sits over the gums as well, and healing occurs underneath the stitches used to close the extraction site. However, proper healing also relies heavily on the clot that builds in the tooth socket itself. This clot must form and stay in place once the bleeding stops. If the clot moves or slips out of place, then the jaw bone, nerves, and healing tissues will be exposed to air, food, and saliva. This condition is called dry socket.

Dry socket affects about 2% to 5% of all people who receive dental extractions. The condition is quite painful though, and you are advised to make arrangements to see your dentist immediately if your notice white bone around the extraction site. Also, extremely bad breath or a rancid taste coming from the extraction area are signs of dry socket. So are radiating pains that travel from the jaw to the ear. Thankfully, these types of symptoms can be avoided by staying away from the following things after a dental extraction.

Medications that Cause Blood Clotting Issues

After your dentist extracts your tooth, a thick piece of gauze is placed over the socket area to slow bleeding. You will be advised to replace the gauze every 45 minutes until bleeding stops significantly. Once bleeding slows, you can replace the gauze every few hours until bleeding stops completely. It usually takes about 24 hours for this to occur. During this time, the blood that pools in the socket starts to clot, and a relatively large formation will be seen. 

Unfortunately, if you take certain medications that cause clotting issues, then a large clot will not form. Bleeding is likely to continue past the 24 hour mark, and smaller clots will instead build in the socket. These clots are much easier to dislodge than a bigger clot and a dry socket condition is more likely. To prevent this, consider stopping medications for several days that cause clotting issues. Aspirin, birth control with estrogen, blood thinners, certain types of antidepressants, some NSAIDs, and herbal supplements can all cause bleeding and clotting issues. Provide your dentist with a full list of medications and supplements that you take so these medicines can be identified.

Clotting Aids

If you cannot stop taking a medication that can cause a clotting problem, then your dentist can use a clotting aid to prevent dry socket. Typically, a type of collagen or gelatin dressing will be used. These aids help to trap pooled blood in the socket area so it has a longer time to clot. Dressings are placed underneath cotton gauze, and your dentist will ask you to replace the dressing and gauze on the same 45 minute schedule as you would if gauze was used alone.


Your dentist will inform you not to smoke after a dental extraction. There are a variety of reasons why, and preventing dry socket is one of the main concerns. Dry socket can occur due to the sucking motions required when smoking. These same actions should be avoided when drinking by not using a straw, or the blood clot can be sucked right out of the socket opening. Also, the contaminants and toxins within the cigarette smoke can infect the socket area. There are over 4,000 chemicals that can cause complications. The nicotine constricts blood vessels too, and this can place direct pressure on the socket clot.

Avoid smoking and using any products containing nicotine after a dental extraction. If you find it difficult to stop smoking completely, then try keeping a water bottle on hand. The fluid will not only help to flush out the nicotine from your body more quickly, but it will help with oral fixation issues. Water can also help to stave off hunger that commonly presents when you quit smoking. 

For more info about having your wisdom teeth removed, speak with a dentist.