There are three main factors that increase the risk of developing a dry socket. Improper post-operative treatments, history of dry socket in the past, and difficult and complex surgical extraction are the factors that cause this complication. Understanding what causes dry socket is important in order to be able to know what to do to prevent it. Besides those three major causes, other contributing factors are age, tooth location, taking birth control pills, and using tobacco products.
What Causes Dry Socket in The Mouth
A dry socket occurs when the blood clot that forms over the socket where a tooth has been pulled is lost. The clot gets dislodged mainly because patients do not follow their dentist’s post-surgery instruction. After a tooth is removed, complications such as having fewer and getting sockets may occur. To anticipate the complications that may happen, dentists typically ask their patients to do self-home care. For example, a patient is asked to pack the extraction site using gauze. This procedure helps form a blood clot that fills the hole in the socket properly.
The role of the clot is very crucial to protect the socket and heal the wound. Therefore, a patient should be careful not to disrupt it. To achieve this aim, during the first day after their tooth extraction, the should avoid activities that can dislodge the clot such as doing vigorous physical activities, eating hot foods, drinking alcohol, using tobacco products, and sucking on a straw. These are just a few post-extraction instructions given by a dentist. There are still other instruction sets that include how to take medications and how to maintain oral hygiene. You should follow all of the instructions. Note that managing blood clot properly is the most important way to prevent a dry socket.
The second cause is having a history of getting dry sockets before. If you have ever had a tooth extracted before and it caused a dry socket, you are at a higher risk for having the same complication later when your other tooth is extracted. This should not make you worried. Your previous complication might be caused by not following your dentist’s instruction. So, if you plan to have a tooth surgery for the second time, just plan to adhere to proper post-op protocol.
The third factor is difficult tooth extractions. Everyone has a specific case of tooth extraction. Some patients undergo complex tooth extractions that usually occur in impacted wisdom tooth removal. Complex extraction involves more nerves so there is a large amount of tissues that get trauma. This traumatized bone tissue releases compounds that diffuse a blood clot on the socket. In response to trauma, there are other compounds that activate pain receptors in the nerve. That is why dry socket causes extreme pain.
Looking at their patients’ case, most dentists can actually predict beforehand the likelihood of tissue trauma after the surgery. They will work on anticipating possible traumatic extractions by doing some procedures. It explains why operator experience is important. Always seek for dentists who are more experienced or more-skilled as they will be able to extract a toothless traumatically than those who are less skillful.