If you're taking birth control pills and need to have a tooth extracted, your dentist may warn you that there is a higher chance that you'll develop a dry socket after your extraction. This painful condition happens when a blood clot cannot form on the wound site, leaving it open and unable to heal correctly.
You may be able to reduce the chances that you'll develop a dry socket by choosing the best time of the month to have the procedure. The way you take care of the wound site after the extraction also helps.
Get Your Timing Right
According to Colgate, the oestrogen in your birth control pills may affect your body's ability to form an effective blood clot after you've had a tooth extracted. Your dentist may suggest that you time the extraction to a point in the month when your oestrogen levels are lowest.
This may help minimise the risk of developing a dry socket by reducing the negative effects of oestrogen on the blood clotting process. Typically, the best time to do this is in the last week of your menstrual cycle.
Do What Your Dentist Tells You
Your dentist will typically give you a lot of advice on how to care for your wound site after a tooth extraction. If your birth control pills give you an increased chance of getting a dry socket, it's important to follow this advice as closely as you can. This gives the clot the best chance of developing and staying in place, allowing your wound to heal as well as avoiding problems.
For example, the following tips may help the blood clot form and stay in place:
- Don't take strenuous exercise for the first day or so after an extraction. If you exercise hard, the blood clot may not develop fully or may dislodge.
- Don't smoke. Smoking may prevent the blood clot from forming correctly and doesn't help the wound site heal. Sucking on a cigarette may also pull the blood clot out of place, especially in the first few hours after the procedure when the clot is particularly fragile.
- Don't drink through straws. Again, the sucking motion may move the blood clot. You may also be advised not to drink or eat anything for the first few hours after the extraction to give the clot time to set.
Given that your birth control pills may put you at a higher risk of developing dry socket, it's also worth monitoring the wound site for the first few days after your extraction. Dry socket can be a really painful experience; spotting the signs early may make it easier to deal with. For example, if you notice that the hole doesn't seem to be covered by a blood clot or if the clot falls out, you should contact your dentist for advice.