Do you have a wisdom teeth dry socket? OR do you have a wisdom teeth socket infection?
It can be hard to tell the difference, and you might be wondering if it even matters, when you are in pain after getting a wisdom tooth removed.
BUT IT DOES MATTER because the treatment is different. If you do the wrong thing, you will not fix the problem, and your pain will gradually get worse. SO we need to work out if you have a wisdom teeth dry socket OR an infected socket.
ONCE WE KNOW WHICH CONDITION YOU HAVE, WE CAN RECOMMEND THE BEST TREATMENT!
So let’s get down to business - what are the symptoms of a wisdom teeth dry socket?
You would probably think that you have an infection in the socket, because it’s taken a few days for it to get painful, and you have that bad taste in your mouth.
BUT you’d be WRONG!
THIS IS THE MAIN SIGN that you have a DRY SOCKET, and NOT an infection. The pain starts 4 to 5 days AFTER the tooth removal. The pain is not caused by bacteria in the socket, and so there is minimal swelling, if any. And antibiotics will not help. If there is no infection, then antibiotics have nothing to work on - they are ONLY effective against bacteria. They are NOT painkillers!
So what can you do about a dry socket?
The pain IS caused by the tooth extraction socket being EMPTY, without any blood clot or healing in there. The bone inside the socket is exposed.
IT IS THE EXPOSED BONE THAT CAUSES THE PAIN.
Right after the tooth was extracted, the socket will have filled up with blood, which then starts to clot. We want this blood clot to become firm in the socket, to fill it up. Gradually it becomes firmer, and new blood capillaries start to grow into the blood clot, and the healing process starts. Slowly, bit by bit, new gum tissue and then bone will grow into the socket, until it is filled up and fully healed.
This process takes from 3 to 6 months to complete, approximately.
BUT IF THE BLOOD CLOT GETS WASHED OUT OF THE SOCKET before it has a chance to stabilise, then you are left with an empty socket. WITH EXPOSED BONE. You have a “dry” socket.
And the exposed bone hurts!
When you get a dry socket, the blood clot normally gets washed out of the socket within 2 to 4 days after the tooth removal. That is why the pain starts up around that time.
BUT why do have a bad taste or smell in your mouth? Surely that’s infection?
NO, not necessarily. The bad taste you have when you get a wisdom teeth dry socket is due to food debris getting stuck down in the bottom of the socket, and rotting.
WHAT’S THE TREATMENT?
It depends on the severity of your pain. There are 3 options!
Here's a photo of the Aqua Clean irrigator with direct link to Amazon;
Then use the fine jet stream that comes out of the irrigator to wash out the socket! As well as washing out that decaying food debris, you are raising the oxygen level in the socket with the TheraBreath mouthwash. Again, do this 4 to 6 times a day at first, and take Tylenol or Ibuprofen for the pain until it starts to settle down.
Those are the three options open to you to treat wisdom teeth dry socket.
BUT HERE’S SOMETHING INTERESTING
If you can get through the painful period of 7 to 10 days, nearly ALL dry sockets will heal up eventually, WITHOUT any treatment! But it takes time. Maybe up to 14 days in total.
So, if the pain from your wisdom teeth dry socket is not too bad, you will probably get away with using an oxygenating mouthwash and an oral irrigator, to wash out any debris that’s trapped in there, and kick-start healing with the oxygen released by the mouthwash.