The Dry Socket
Even though they aren't life threatening like bleeding or abscesses, dry sockets can be extremely painful. They are very common following surgery, and happen to be one of the most painful post extraction problems. Dry sockets are more common with removal of the lower teeth than they are with removal of upper teeth. No matter what type of extraction you have performed, a dry socket can occur with any type.
Although there is really no way to prevent a dry socket, you can help to reduce the risk by following your after surgery directions. Even though you may be following the directly precisely, you could still end up with a dry socket. They are known as a quirk of nature, and will make you feel like you are on your death bed - although you really aren't. Those who are more at risk to dry sockets include those who smoke following extractions, and those who like to grind their teeth frequently.
A dry socket is a condition where the blood clot that forms after an extraction detaches itself from the socket walls. Sometimes, the clot will dissolve, leaving the bone exposed to food, the weather, and even saliva. Once the bone is exposed, it can become inflamed. The inflammation that occurs is very painful, often times being a deep pain that makes you feel as if you are dying.
If you leave it alone, the dry socket will heal. It will normally take around a month or so, although the pain won't let up during the healing period. If you have a dry socket, you'll find that antibiotics and even the strongest of prescription drug won't cure it. An antibiotic will normally cure infections, although a dry socket isn't considered to be an infection.
The best way to fight a dry socket is to go back to your dentist and have him pack the socket. Packing the socket is done without any anesthesia and can be quite painful. It doesn't take long to complete, and it can provide relief from the pain. Once you have a dry socket, you won't care about anything but stopping the pain. The pain can be so intense at times that you will be willing to do anything to stop the pain - even for a few minutes.
Once the socket has been packed, you will be relived from pain for a day or so. If you go back to your dentist, he will remove the old packing, wash the socket out, and place a new packing in. This way, you can get relief from the pain and help the socket heal. Keep in mind that it will take time to heal - and the best way to stop the pain is to do your best to avoid a dry socket at all costs.
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