Dental Hygienists: Expert Tips for HomecareDental Hygienists: Expert Tips for Homecare

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Dental Hygienists: Expert Tips for Homecare

In between regular cleanings with a dental hygienist, many people wonder what they can do to clean, protect and strengthen their teeth. If you are one of the many people with questions, this blog is designed to help you keep your teeth sparkling in between professional cleanings. It shows you how to adapt professional dental hygiene methods for your home, it explores home whitening techniques, it discuses the best flossing strategies and more. If you want to protect your smile, stick around. You will love the tips, tricks and ideas about dental hygiene that you learn from this blog. Although professional cleanings are necessary, these is a lot you can do in between your appointments, and you can learn about that here. Thanks!

Dry Socket After Tooth Extraction: What Is It, and Why Should It Be Avoided?

If you injure yourself and are bleeding, you would expect the blood to quickly clot. A small laceration quickly dries, and drying is part of the clotting process. However, there are times when bleeding shouldn't dry too rapidly, and this is the case when you have a tooth extracted. The dental socket that once hosted the tooth is now empty, and it's important that you don't develop a dry socket.

A Demanding Experience

The extraction of a permanent tooth can be a demanding experience. Although the removal itself is painless (courtesy of the anaesthetic that will be given beforehand), some discomfort in the following days is an inevitability. This can be effectively managed with over-the-counter pain medication, with your dosage tapering off as your discomfort subsides. Additionally, the site of the extraction will bleed.

Managing Your Bleeding

Sterile gauze is the best way to control this bleeding. You simply (gently) bite down on a small pad of sterile gauze. These pads will need to be changed as they become soaked with blood and saliva, with the bleeding decreasing as the site heals before you no longer need the gauze. This is the best way to promote healthy clotting of an empty dental socket.

How Dry Socket Can Develop

It can be disruptive to the healing process when a dental socket's clot is lost. A newly-forming clot in the mouth might not be especially stable, and so you must do everything you can not to disturb it. Follow your dentist's instructions carefully, being sure to only consume soft foods while you heal (and to only chew using the unaffected side of your mouth). You must avoid anything that might exert pressure on the clot, and this means that you shouldn't drink through a straw (due to the suction involved). Smoking is also extremely unwise. Obviously, it's never healthy, but the action of inhaling (not to mention the carcinogenic smoke wafting over your empty dental socket) can easily lead to dry socket. Spitting can also dislodge a clot and should be avoided. What actually happens to your mouth when you develop dry socket?

The Consequences of Dry Socket

The underlying bone will be exposed, and the empty socket can permit the accumulation of food debris and oral bacteria. This makes you more susceptible to infection. The empty dental socket will also become painful. If you've recently had a tooth extracted and the site is becoming more painful (when you were expecting the opposite), you must see your dentist.

Managing Dry Socket

Your dentist will need to irrigate the empty socket to flush away any harmful debris. A direct antiseptic compress may also be needed, and this is applied to the site in the same way as sterile gauze. These compresses will need to be reapplied as per your dentist's instructions. You will also need to continue with pain medication until the site has begun to heal. 

If a tooth must be extracted, its socket will need careful attention in the following days. Please report any suspected instances of dry socket to a dentist so you can receive treatment.