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6 Ways to Avoid Dry Socket After a Tooth Extraction

Woman with Jaw Pain Roswell, GA

Dry socket is a dental condition that is associated with tooth removal. It is one of the most painful oral issues, but one that can also be avoided with proper care. If you are scheduled to have your wisdom teeth or other tooth extracted, it is important that you learn about dry socket first.

What is Dry Socket?

If dry socket develops, it typically does so in the first few days after your oral surgery. A sudden increase in your pain can be a telltale sign. The worsening pain is an indication that the blood clot that naturally forms in the empty tooth socket has dissolved, become dislodged or not formed at all. Since we need that blood clot to protect the exposed bone and nerves, the condition of dry socket can be especially painful to deal with. Fortunately, dry socket is both preventable and treatable, but some upfront knowledge is key.

Ways to Prevent Dry Socket

For the first several days after your tooth extraction, you should adhere to the following instructions to protect yourself from dry socket:

#1 Don’t use straws
You’ll be told to drink plenty of liquids but NOT drink from a straw. The suction movement of air using your cheek muscles can dislodge your blood clot at the extraction site.

#2 Avoid smoking and tobacco
Those who smoke and use tobacco are at significantly greater risk for developing dry socket after tooth extraction. Not only does the quick inhalation of smoking pose a threat to the blood clot, but the chemicals in tobacco can limit healing and contribute to infection.

 #3 Follow eating guidelines
Post-operative instructions for eating will be given to you after your oral surgery. It is critical that you follow them. Eating hard or crunchy foods sooner than you are supposed to can damage the blood clot and slow recovery.

#4 Consider medication interactions
Always tell your dentist about the medications you are on. Oral contraceptives and corticosteroids are known for preventing the formation of blood clots.

#5 Practice proper oral hygiene
Keeping your mouth clean is one of the best ways you can promote healing and prevent dry socket after tooth removal, as oral hygiene can fight germs and infection from breaking down the formed blood clot. Don’t assume you can return to normal dental hygiene immediately after your oral surgery. Make sure to follow strict guidelines for cleaning your extraction site each day.

#6 Avoid strenuous activity
Don’t hit the gym after your oral surgery. Now is the time to rest and not get your heart rate up. Exercising too vigorously too soon can cause dry socket.

If you suspect that you have dry socket or suddenly have intense pain after your tooth extraction procedure, please call our office immediately. At the office of Mitzi Morris, DMD, we do our best to help patients prevent dry socket, but we can also treat it if the condition does develop.

Posted on the behalf of Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC

Our Patient Reviews

Mitzi D. Morris, DMD, PC

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Based on 44 reviews

  • Dr. Morris is an excellent dentist. Her ability to relate to her patients makes her a stand-out amongst those in her profession. She practices dentistry with superior technique and care. Her staff is friendly, helpful, and accommodating. I feel she hires only the best! One special mention: I suffer from panic attacks at times- along with claustrophobia. Dr. Morris is the first dentist I have ever had who helped calm my fears. Thus, my experience exceeded expectations! Great service!

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  • Definitely would recommend Dr. Morris to anyone. She has been my dentist for over 8 years! Dr. Morris is extremely personable and is serious about the completing the best care possible. Great established dental team! Very accommodating to your schedule.

    Kelly T
  • Great and very educational experience. Compared to my last two dentists this experience blows them both out of the water. The staff is very friendly, and very helpful. I had to go in for a total of four visits a few weeks apart from each other. They made me feel very comfortable the entire time and kept making sure I was pleased. Getting a deep cleaning went very smoothly. It was also brought to my attention that the way I was flossing was incorrect. And have since changed methods. I worked specifically with Dr. Morris. She was very nice, and took the time to explain things. Which is a huge plus for me. Dr. Morris and the staff members worked effortlessly together. I was comfortable enough to sit back and relax, strangely enough, while having cavities drilled and fillings put in. Billing and scheduling appointments, as well as follow up for confirmation of upcoming appointments was very easy. I will say my favorite part of the experience was how friendly of an environment the staff has created. That alone is deserving of a 5 star review, and the rest is honestly icing on the cake. I highly recommend this practice on all fronts and will continue using them!

    Eric F
  • I transferred from a long-term and very good relationship with my former dentist because of a move, and I was a little apprehensive about a new dentist. Dr. Morris has been great. She is friendly, patient-concerned and the office is new, comfortable and clean. Everyone seems to enjoy working there. I feel like I'm in good hands!

    Christopher P
  • Dr. Morris and her staff are very professional. Additionally, she as well as her staff have an excellent "bedside manner." The office is new and well equipped. If one has an appointment and an earlier one opens up, Dr. Morris offers it to her patients as she did with my last appointment.

    David G
  • I have never met a staff so nice and charming. This staff will make you feel comfortable and relaxed in Dr. Morris's Spa like office and everyone is professional and approachable too. Andrea R. explained the process of my appointment and procedures and is definitely a highly-educated and thorough dental hygenist -- SHE IS A ROCKSTAR. I'm so glad that Dr. Morris and her dental team have been my "go-to" for the last 5 years, and I wont be going anywhere else! Overall - A++ Dr. Morris...highly recommended to my family and friends!!!

    Adam O
  • I've been a patient of Dr. Mitzi Morris for many years, and recommend her without reservation. The office is modern. clean and spacious. The staff has always been welcoming and very helpful. And the women who work for her as dental technicians are fantastic; they do a professional and effective deep cleaning, but with a careful, gentle touch. It is clear to me that Dr. Morris reads her professional journals and upgrades her practice to stay very current with the latest best practices in dentistry. (I have had some dentists who stopped updating their practices after leaving dental school!) With Dr. Morris you can count on receiving the very latest dental technology. Her prices are very fair, and I have never been surprised by an unexpected cost or had problems with insurance not covering services rendered.

    Bruce C
  • I have never experienced an office so down to earth, so outgoing and so willing to satisfy. If you've grown to dread the dentist then lay down your sword and give this office a shot.

    Marc Mamane

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