Try getting near a person with a dry socket and you would end up being on the receiving side of some really nasty comments! Not that the other person can be blamed for it though.
For even though it may sound like an insignificant problem, a ‘dry socket’ can be excruciatingly painful and can cause other issues like headaches, migraines and fever etc. The pain is usually intense and remains unabated for even several days after the tooth has been removed (a telltale sign of the problem).
So what exactly is a dry socket? When you remove a tooth, the resultant hole (aka gap) in its place is called a socket. In most cases, a blood clot develops inside the socket as soon as the tooth is removed. This is a natural process that helps protect the nerves and bone present underneath the extracted tooth.
However, in some cases, the blood clot may dissolve before the wound heals completely (i.e. before the socket closes) or may get dislodged accidentally, leading to the formation of a dry socket. If this happens, the underlying bone and nerves become are no longer protected, and become exposed to particles that enter the mouth, including air, water, food particles and other substances etc. When these come in contact with the exposed nerves and bone the concerned individual experiences extreme pain, discomfort and even infection.
Excellent Home Remedies for Dry Socket
A Dry Socket (also called as Alveolar Osteitis) can be easily treated with home remedies. However, these remedies would only offer temporary relief from the issue. It is considered wise for the concerned individual to check with a doctor for a permanent solution to the problem and also have a word about these remedies before opting for them.
Use Hot/Cold Compresses
The first sign of a dry socket is an excruciating pain that refuses to go away no matter what you do. In order to alleviate this pain, you can opt to place a hot or cold pack on the area of your face directly above the extracted tooth.
You would probably notice some swelling in this region as well. Placing a hot/cold pack on this area for about 15-20 minutes can effectively reduce the swelling and pain caused by the dry socket to a great extent. Examples of hot/cold packs include ice cubes wrapped in a towel, a bag of frozen peas or a towel dipped in hot/cold water.
Drink plenty of water and other fluids to remain hydrated for extended periods. Dry sockets can cause pain which in turn can cause giddiness. Remaining hydrated can prevent the giddiness associated with the condition.
Avoid using straws that would require a suction action. This can potentially aggravate the pain you experience. And make it a point to drink from one side of the mouth (the side that is not affected). The pain and discomfort would increase if the area is constantly exposed to liquids as well.
Avoid Rigorous Brushing
It is considered wise to brush your teeth very gently if you happen to have a dry socket. Chances are that you can accidentally hit the socket and aggravate the wound. You could also potentially dislodge another blood clot forming in the place of the former clot. So make sure you brush the area around the socket very gently for the first few days after tooth extraction or until the pain and swelling decrease.
Opt For Frequent Mouth Rinses
Salt Water Rinses
Rinsing your mouth at regular intervals can help alleviate the pain caused by a dry socket to an extent.
Opt for warm salt water rinses that would both remove food particles and debris from the area, and help promote quick healing of the socket.
You can also opt for turmeric rinses by adding a pinch of turmeric powder to a glass of warm water and gargling the solution at regular intervals throughout the day. The antiseptic properties of turmeric would help promote quick healing and the antibacterial properties of the ingredient would help prevent infections.
Hydrogen Peroxide Rinses
If you have food grade hydrogen peroxide solution at home, try rinsing your mouth with it to get immediate relief from the pain caused by a dry socket.
In addition to effectively removing food particles, debris and other impurities from the mouth, hydrogen peroxide solution can prevent bacterial infections in the area and promote quick healing.
Flush Out Food Particles
The foods you eat can leave residues in between your teeth that can possibly enter the dry socket at a later point of time. So make it a point to flush out these particles, especially after meals. Use a small syringe to squirt water into the dry socket. This would effectively flush out particles that might have entered the socket. And this in turn would effectively reduce the pain and irritation experienced otherwise.
Use Tea Bags
Tea bags contain tannic acid, a substance that contains potent antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Placing a tea bag over the socket can therefore, help offer extended relief from the pain and discomfort caused by a dry socket.
Accordingly, place a tea bag in boiling water for some time and let them cool. Place the cooled tea bag directly above the socket and keep it pressed against the socket for about 20 minutes to get relief from the pain.
Try Clove Oil
Clove oil is known to be one of the best home remedies for conditions like dry sockets. Don’t apply it directly over the dry socket though as it can cause a stinging sensation. Rather, dip a swab of cotton in water and then in clove oil.
Press the cotton swab against the dry socket and keep it in place with the help of the neighboring teeth for about 20 minutes. This would effectively reduce the pain and discomfort felt in the area (and around it). Opt for this remedy at least twice a day for extended relief.
Add Yogurt To Your Diet
Yogurt contains potent antibiotic properties that help keep off harmful bacteria from entering the dry socket. So add plenty of yogurt to your meals every day. In addition to protecting the dry socket fro
m infections, the good bacteria present in yogurt would promote quick healing of the affected site.
In certain cases, saliva generated in the mouth can enter the dry socket and cause pain. While you cannot prevent the generation of saliva, you can protect the dry socket from the same by placing a piece of moist gauze over it.
Bite down the gauze in order to cover the entire socket and replace the gauze at regular intervals to keep the socket protected. You can opt to stop using the gauze once the pain recedes.
If you happen to have a dry socket, you need to take extra measures to avoid certain triggers that can aggravate the symptoms of a dry socket and delay healing. Common triggers you need to avoid in these cases include smoking, usage of products containing tobacco and eating foods that can leave small residues in the mouth (like chips and nuts) etc.