After your wisdom teeth are removed, their empty sockets are left behind. To protect the bone and nerve endings underneath, your body will form a blood clot that’s meant to stay in place until the gums have healed. But if this clot is dislodged, recovery will take longer – and you’ll experience a lot of pain and swelling! To prevent dry socket in Asheville, read on to learn 4 simple tips for keeping your blood clot safe.
1. Give Up Tobacco
Do you smoke or use any kind of tobacco at all? If so, your risk of developing dry socket is particularly high. Inhaling on a cigarette can easily dislodge the blood clot, but that’s not even the worst of it; the chemicals in the tobacco can stop your mouth from healing properly and cause an infection. Naturally, you’ll need to stop using cigarettes while recovering. Your dentist can give you a more precise timeframe and may also be able to point you in the direction of resources that make it easier to abstain from smoking.
2. Do Not Use Straws
When you drink from a straw, the air and your cheek muscles create a powerful suction movement. This suction can knock the blood clot out of place and expose the wound. For this reason, avoid straws for at least a week after your extraction; either drink directly from the glass or (in the case of milkshakes and other thick drinks) use a spoon instead.
3. Stock Up on Soft Foods
After wisdom tooth extractions in Asheville, patients need to go easy on their mouths. For the first day, stock up on applesauce, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and other soft foods that require minimal chewing. Stay away from soup, however; it could cause sucking and dislodge the blood clot. You can gradually attempt to eat slightly heartier foods as time passes.
4. Keep Your Mouth Clean
Even if you’re being careful to avoid damaging your blood clot, the bacteria in your mouth certainly won’t. If left alone, they could break down the clot and infect the bone underneath. Your dentist will give you some specific tips for keeping bacteria under control while your mouth is healing; for example, they might recommend rinsing with salt water on the first day and gently brushing on the second day. In certain cases, you might need an antibacterial mouthwash, or you might need to apply a gauze pad as directed.
Even if the worst does happen, remember that dry socket is treatable; you’ll start feeling better almost immediately once the dentist has rinsed out the socket and applied medication. That said, it’s always better to try and avoid the issue altogether so that your mouth recovers sooner, letting you return to your normal activities quickly.
About the Author
Dr. John White is a native in Asheville and is a firm believer in the traditions of community enrichment. During a two year post-doctoral residency at Wake Forest University’s Baptist Hospital and Bowman Gray School of Medicine, he built his expertise in various fields, including extractions. If you have wisdom teeth that need to be removed soon, schedule an appointment with Dr. White by visiting his website or calling (940) 566-1921.