Dry Socket: A Common Complication of Impacted Wisdom Teeth Extraction
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, majority of the population will need to have their third set of molars removed. Wisdom teeth usually become impacted and are unable to grow out normally. The molars end up getting trapped in the jawbone or gums, causing a lot of pain and swelling. Fortunately, the extraction of wisdom teeth is a standard surgical procedure and can easily be accomplished by an experienced dentist. Still, it’s important to note that even a typical procedure can have certain risks. For a wisdom teeth extraction, dry sockets are a common complication.
After a wisdom teeth extraction, the empty sockets where the molars once were should clot and protect the area that has been exposed. A dry socket occurs when a clot fails to form or has been dislodged after the operation. This leaves the nerves protected by the extracted molar to be exposed to anything that enters the mouth. Aside from excruciating pain, dry sockets can lead to an infection without proper treatment. Unless properly treated, a dry socket can cause excruciating pain and eventually lead to an infection.
Dry sockets are characterized by a sharp and throbbing pain that is usually intensified by eating and drinking, as well as a foul odor or taste that is coming from the site of the extraction. To address these symptoms, dentists clean the extraction site to remove debris and fill the empty socket with dressing soaked in medication. They will also prescribe the patient with over the counter pain medication to help ease any discomfort.
All in all, the most that can be done to address this common complication of impacted wisdom teeth extraction is to facilitate the healing process. In most cases, dentists instruct their patients on how they can flush out the extraction site and re-dress the empty socket on their own. An experienced dentist will communicate with patients on the ways they can take care of themselves while waiting for their extraction sites to properly heal.