Wisdom Teeth Dry Socket Symptoms

Wisdom Teeth Dry Socket Symptoms

TeamOral Surgery

Your wisdom teeth are the last molars to fully develop and erupt in your mouth—typically during your early twenties. But these teeth can cause problems, such as becoming impacted or infected, so many people have them extracted. 

A common problem people face after wisdom teeth extraction is dry sockets, which can be a very painful experience. But if you know the symptoms, you can quickly get in touch with your dentist or oral surgeon for treatment and pain relief.

Here's what you need to know about wisdom teeth dry sockets and the symptoms to watch for.

What Is a Dry Socket?

Dry sockets are a common complication of wisdom teeth removal, occurring in about ten percent of cases. The most common cause of a dry socket is the failure of the blood clot that forms over the extraction site to remain in place following surgery. Since the blood clot serves as a barrier to bacteria and stimulates healing, pain and infection may result if it becomes dislodged.

What are the signs of a dry socket?

Dry sockets can be an unpleasant experience, with symptoms including:

Pain. The pain is usually sharp, throbbing, and constant. It hurts when you eat or drink and can often be felt in your jaw muscle.

Swelling of the gums around your wisdom teeth. The swelling may make it difficult to open and move your mouth fully to eat and speak.

Tenderness in your jawbone, gums, or cheek. You may feel this near the site where one or more of your wisdom teeth were extracted.

Bleeding from inside an extraction wound. This is also known as ulceration and can be caused by irritation.

Fever. In some cases, a dry socket may lead to fever.

If you have any of these symptoms, see your dentist immediately.

What are the common causes of a dry socket?

Common causes of dry sockets include:

  • Not following post-operative instructions.
  • Failure to keep the affected area clean during healing.
  • Injury to the nerve or tooth while it's being pulled.
  • Inadequate pain control during the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Delayed healing because of smoking or tobacco use.

What are the risk factors for dry sockets?

What are the risk factors for dry sockets?

Smoking. People who smoke have about twice the risk of infection than non-smokers. Smoking also makes healing take longer.

Sinusitis.  Because inflamed and swollen airways cause the healing process to take longer, patients with sinus conditions or colds have an increased risk of dry sockets.

A deep socket. If an extraction is performed on a tooth with an existing deep socket, the risk of developing a dry socket is higher.

Multiple extractions. When several teeth are removed at once, there's more tissue trauma during surgery and afterward. This may increase the chances of developing a dry socket, especially if one or more teeth was impacted or had a complicated root structure. 

What can I do to prevent a dry socket?

These are steps you can take to help prevent a dry socket from developing:

  • Don't smoke or chew tobacco while recovering from your surgery. This will help the blood clot remain intact and keep debris out of the socket.
  • Drink plenty of water during recovery so that you don't get dehydrated.
  • Eat soft foods like soup, applesauce, pudding, or yogurt for a few days after extraction until your mouth heals completely. Avoid hard or crunchy foods. 

Learn More About Wisdom Teeth Extractions and Dry Sockets

Total Dental Care is committed to helping our patients with dental emergencies. Contact us immediately if you've developed a dry socket after wisdom tooth extraction or oral surgery. We'll make arrangements to see you quickly and make you comfortable again.