How to Treat (and Prevent) Dry Socket Naturally (Detailed Instructions)

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How to Treat (and Prevent) Dry Socket Naturally

A dry socket (also known as alveolar osteitis) is a common complication that can happen to some people following a tooth extraction or other oral surgery. Dry socket is not a common complication of a tooth removal but if you’ve had your tooth removed recently then you have a risk for developing this complication.


What is Dry Socket

A socket is a hole in the bone where the tooth was removed. When the tooth is removed, a blood clot is formed to protect the bones and nerves. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot is dislodged, and the bone below is left exposed to food, saliva and bacteria that can become lodged in the clot place, causing pain, discomfort and slowed healing times.

Dry socket is fairly rare following extraction of most teeth, but becomes alarmingly common when an impacted wisdom tooth is extracted.

A medical study checked the risk of developing dry socket: out of 2214 patients who had a tooth extraction only 1.8% developed dry socket. The researchers concluded that “Dry socket occurrence is a painful but infrequent complication of tooth extraction and most commonly affects the mandibular (lower jaw) sockets”

However, this condition is preventable—and if you already have it, there are some home remedies you can try in order to get back on the road to healing.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Socket?

According to doctors from Mayo Clinic the symptoms of dry socket may include:

Severe pain in your jaw within a few days after a tooth extraction. Doctors from WebMd say that the pain could start about 2 days after the tooth has been pulled. The pain may also radiate to your ear, eye, temple or neck on the same side of your face as the extraction.

You are able to see the bone where your tooth has been extracted. This could happen after partial or total loss of the blood clot at the tooth extraction site. If this happens you may notice an empty-looking (dry) socket.

Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

How to Prevent Dry Socket from Occurring

According to doctors from Mayo Clinic, you have more chances for developing dry socket if you’ve had it in the past. Having tooth or gum infection can also increase the occurrence of dry socket.

But there are also other things that can increase your chances for developing dry socket:

Smoking. The study mentioned previously found that smoking could contaminate the surgical site and interrupt healing. A 2004 study performed by researchers from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne found that cigarette smokers were more likely to develop dry socket, and that smoking contributed to longer healing times after tooth extraction surgery.

With all the adverse effects that cigarette smoking is known to have on health and wellness, it comes as no surprise that it can interfere with surgical healing, as well.

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Smoking must absolutely be avoided for two days after surgery, and chewing tobacco must be avoided for seven days. If you want to quit smoking you can follow these 5 natural ways to quit smoking.

Taking Oral contraceptives. According to doctors from Mayo Clinic, high estrogen levels from birth control pills could disrupt the healing processes and increase the risk of dry socket. The study mentioned previously also found that oral contraception is a risk factor for developing dry socket.

Not looking after your wound properly. Doctors from Mayo Clinic say that poor oral hygiene may increase the risk of dry socket.

Follow any instructions given to you by your oral surgeon to the letter. Most of the time, the risk of dry socket has passed within a week and you can resume normal eating and drinking once you feel comfortable doing so after that time.

Natural Remedies for Dry Socket

Some people with dry socket opt to run back to the doctor who performed their extraction for relief.

The pain can be exquisite, and may last for a month or longer. However, there are some home remedies that, while not always backed by hard science, are said to provide immediate relief by people who have used them for their own dry socket pain.

Here are a few of these remedies for dry socket and how to use them:

Apply clove oil

Clove essential oil, also called eugenol, has antibacterial and pain-reducing properties that make it popular for use in dentistry and it’s also one of the natural remedies for gum infection (gingivitis).

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A medical study about dry socket reported that clove oil has been used for centuries as toothache remedy.

To use clove oil to treat a dry socket, dilute a few drops in carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil and soak a piece of gauze in the solution. Place the gauze into the dry socket area and bite down. Change the dressing a few times per day.

Tuck in gauze or a tea bag

You can also treat a dry socket by simply wetting gauze with clean water and tucking it against the painful area.

Your dentist may also pack the socket with medicated gel or paste and medicated dressings to prevent dry socket.

Tea bags are also popular for treating dry socket, as the tannins in green or black tea can provide relief and may even promote proper blood flow to the dry socket itself, thus speeding healing. There are other 14 great uses for your used teabags.

Rinse your mouth with saline water

Doctors from Mayo Clinic recommend to rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water (saline water) several times a day to treat dry socket.

Make a saline solution by dissolving a teaspoon of salt into a cup of room-temperature water.

Swish very gently with this mixture several times per day, being careful not to make too many sucking motions as you do so. This can help keep the dry socket moist, and the salt water acts as an antiseptic to ward off infection.

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Apply a cold compress to the face to relieve dry socket pain

Making an ice pack and applying it to the side of your face where the dry socket is can provide relief from pain and inflammation.

Place ice cubes into a small, sealable plastic bag and then wrap the bag in a soft cloth, then hold the bag on the outside of your face for 10 to 15 minutes. This may be done a few times per day.

Alternately, you may use a bag of frozen vegetables as a cold compress. While applying a cold compress may not aid in the healing of the socket itself, it can help to ease pain and swelling.

Hydrate your body

Keeping well-hydrated is always good advice (as it has amazing health benefits), but when you have a dry socket it can help the dry, tender area re-moisturize and possibly make the healing process take less time.

A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (in pounds) in water (in ounces) per day to remain well-hydrated. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, drink at least 70 ounces of water per day to stay fully hydrated.

Doctors from Mayo Clinic suggest to avoid alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or hot beverages after the oral surgery or the tooth extraction.

Pay a special attention to these 7 warning signs that tell you that your body is lacking water.

Flush and clean the socket

Doctors from Mayo Clinic say that “flushing out the socket can remove food particles or other debris that may contribute to pain or possible infection.”

Your dental care provider may tell you to flush your socket, and provide a curved hollow syringe that you can fill with water and aim at the dry socket to clean it out, clearing away any bits of food or other debris that may be stuck within the socket and causing irritation.

A dry socket cannot heal if it isn’t clean, so flushing it out can help along the healing process when other methods have failed to provide relief.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few things you can do to help prevent dry socket:

  • Make sure your dentist has excellent experience in tooth extractions.
  • Stop smoking before your extraction because smoking was found to increase your risk of dry socket.
  • Make sure to talk with your dentist or oral surgeon about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you’re taking. Some medication (such as oral contraceptives) may interfere with blood clotting and increase your risk of developing dry socket.

How to Naturally Relieve The Pain and Inflammation Caused by Dry Socket

If you suffer from pain and inflammation, you’ll be please to find out that mother nature has a lot to offer you. You can find more information in my article about the best anti inflammatory foods.

Make sure to read these related articles:
1. How to Treat Gum Infection (Gingivitis) Naturally
2. This Root Fights Tooth Decay and Inflammation
3. How to Heal Cavities and Tooth Decay Naturally

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