Last Updated on April 3, 2023 by Dr Gustavo Assatourians DDS
After tooth extraction, aftercare is important to avoid complications and a possible infection that could delay recovery. In the postoperative phase, inflammation and intense pain may occur in the affected area. Here are eight home remedies for dry sockets.
What is a Dry Socket?
When an extraction is performed, a blood clot forms in the space occupied by the tooth. It serves to protect the hole in the gums during the healing process. If the clot does not form or breaks off, you have a case of dry socket.
The alveolitis exposes the nerves and the bone, generating intense pain in the area of the intervention. It can extend to the ear, eye, and neck.
According to studies, a dry socket occurs more frequently in the lower jaw. The healing time for a dry socket is estimated to be one week.
Side Effects of a Dry Socket
- Delayed healing and healing
- Infection in the socket
- Infection in the bone
Who can Suffer from Dry Sockets?
Bacterial contamination by food residues, liquids, or other substances that enter the mouth can cause a dry socket. In fact, it is the most frequent oral condition when wisdom teeth are extracted.
People who have been diagnosed with a dry socket are prone to repeat it. People who smoke or consume tobacco derivatives are also sensitive to this condition. From this perspective, it is essential to inform the treating dentist about the patient’s oral health history before the intervention.
How Do You Know if You Have Dry Socket?
If after dental extraction, you present any of the following situations, it is time to consult your dentist:
- Intense pain in the jaw on the same side as the extraction
- Pain when drinking in the cold or breathing cold air
- Visible bone
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth (bad taste)
- Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products slows healing and contaminates the wound. In addition, when aspirating, the blood clot that protects the wound can become detached.
- Some oral contraceptives have high levels of estrogen, a substance that interferes with healing. It is recommended not to take them during recovery.
- Not following the dentist’s instructions for home therapy or not having good dental hygiene can lead to a dry socket.
Ways to Prevent a Dry Socket
- Inform the dentist about the medications being consumed at the time of the intervention. Some can interfere with coagulation and cause a dry socket.
- Do not use straws.
- Do not consume hard or crunchy foods. They can dislodge the blood clot. Soft foods allow for better management of the post-operative treatment.
- Avoid the consumption of hot or carbonated drinks.
- Avoid smoking before and after extraction. During the healing process, it is recommended to look for other alternatives to control the anxiety of tobacco addiction (withdrawal syndrome), such as patches.
- If the inflammation persists after five days of the intervention, consult your dentist.
Home Remedies for Dry Sockets
- Hydration – Consuming water and keeping the body hydrated is one way to alleviate the symptoms of a dry socket. Consuming a good amount of fluids after a tooth extraction is key to a favorable recovery and helps with possible adverse reactions from pain relievers, such as nausea.
- Rinsing with warm salt water – After each meal removes food debris or other particles that can cause pain or possible infection. Half a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of warm water (8 ounces) as a rinse is advised.
- Contrast therapy / hot and cold – In the 24 hours following the extraction, applying cold compresses to the face for 15 minutes helps reduce swelling. A warm compress can then be applied for pain management.
- Clove oil – It contains eugenol, a substance frequently used in dental procedures with anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. It can calm the pain and prevent infections from advancing. Moisten a sterile gauze with clove oil and apply directly to the affected area for about 20 minutes to help recovery.
- Honey – It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Honey dressings reduce inflammation, pain, and discomfort. Raw honey can be applied to sterile gauze and placed on the affected area.
- Black tea – It is a natural antibacterial for reducing inflammation and pain. A black tea bag is steeped in a cup of boiling water for five minutes. The infusion is allowed to cool, the bag is removed, and the excess water is squeezed out. Then the bag is taken to the refrigerator (not the freezer); after a few minutes, it is applied to the affected area and held with a soft bite for 15 minutes. Then a mouthwash can be made with the leftover cold tea.
- Turmeric is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory herb that relieves dry socket pain and decreases swelling. It also speeds up the healing process. One teaspoon of turmeric powder is mixed with a cup of warm water or milk. With this solution, you will rinse your mouth several times a day.
- Garlic fights oral infections as it is a natural antibiotic. It also helps manage pain in the gums and teeth. Put two fresh garlic and a pinch of salt in a mortar or cup and crush them to form a paste. Apply the paste to the extraction site for about thirty minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water. This can be repeated as many times as you consider necessary to alleviate pain.
If the inflammation persists five days after the intervention, and there is a lot of pain or constant discomfort, consult your dentist so he can prescribe the most appropriate treatment for a dry socket.
If you have any questions about home remedies for dry sockets or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental as well as our page on Facebook. We look forward to your visit and we will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, Newbury Park, and Port Hueneme will be able to guide you toward the best treatment to take care of your health and give you back your best smile.
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