The gums have a natural way of healing especially when a tooth is extracted. It usually heals in a few days and the gum closes on its own. You may wonder why some dentist may not have to stitch the hole where the tooth has been extracted. And then you may ask how the hole can be filled when there is no tooth to replace it anymore. Well, the gums start healing when the blood clots in the area where the tooth was extracted. However, there are instances when the blood clot can be disrupted and so the healing is impeded.
Once the healing process is obstructed, the pain intensifies and the wound is more susceptible to infection. This is when a dry socket occurs, otherwise known as alveolar osteitis. This condition typically occurs when after 3 to 5 days from extraction, the gums still do not heal and the pain has become more intense. The wound area also becomes grayish and the soreness does not go away. A symptom of this condition includes bad breath as foul odor usually comes from the extraction site after around a week from extraction. It also leaves a bad taste because of the infection and irritated gum tissue.
Dentists may not really know the exact cause of dry socket; but there are patients who are more susceptible to this condition. But aside from underlying diseases and problems in the immune system, some dental professionals believe that the mostly likely cause of a dry socket is trauma during extraction. They have more reasons to believe this as the tissues surrounding the tooth could be easily damaged due to improper extraction. Dry socket also typically occurs when an impacted wisdom tooth is extracted as it requires a bigger chunk of the gum tissue to be cut; thereby prolonging the process of blood clot formation due to the expanse of the area that was cut.
Nevertheless, there are preventive measures that the patient should strictly adhere to in order to avoid alveolar osteitis. After the extraction, the wound should be covered with a gauze for at least one hour to avoid other particles from irritating the wound. This is also to prevent disrupting the blood clot. Avoid dislodging the blood clot but gently brushing the teeth and rinsing your mouth. Do not drink hot beverages and soups while the wound is still healing. Also try not to drink alcoholic liquids so that the blood clot formation stays.
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