As is the case with any oral surgery, wisdom teeth removal does come with a risk of certain complications. The most common of these is dry sockets, a painful condition in which the protective clot is either dislodged too soon or fails to form, exposing the sensitive nerves in the empty socket.
Although dry sockets can develop after any tooth is extracted, the wisdom teeth are particularly susceptible to the problem. The sockets left behind after wisdom teeth removal are quite large, and therefore the protective clot plays a very important role.
Fortunately, patients can take steps to reduce the likelihood that they will get dry sockets. The oral surgeon can give you recommendations on ways that you can minimize your risk of dry sockets.
Tips That Can Help Prevent Dry Sockets
- Quit smoking (at least for a few days): Maybe your wisdom tooth extraction will give you a final bit of motivation to kick the habit for good, but you should at least steer clear of your cigarettes (or cigars, pipes, etc.) for a few days after the procedure. Smoking increases the risk of dry sockets. Chewing tobacco can also interfere with healing, so give it up for at least a week, too.
- Avoid drinking straws: The sucking motion can dislodge the clot, so it’s best to drink your beverages straight from the glass for a few days.
- Get enough rest: While patients can generally resume normal activities a day or two after the surgery, it’s best to postpone vigorous exercise for a few days to give the healing process enough time.
- Adapt your oral hygiene routine: It should be safe to rinse your mouth gently with salt water, but use care when brushing or flossing in the vicinity of the extraction site.
- Medications that interfere with the clotting process can affect healing after your wisdom tooth extraction. Your oral surgeon will review your medications and make any appropriate recommendations prior to the procedure.
Our skilled and dedicated team of oral surgeons can help you develop a plan to cut your chances of dry sockets. For more information, contact any of our four convenient locations today and schedule your consultation.