If you are facing a tooth extraction, your dental services professional will warn you against dislodging the protective blood clot that forms over the extraction site. If the clot dislodges prematurely, you may develop a condition known as dry socket, which can delay healing and expose your underlying bone and nerves to infection-causing bacteria.
The clot should remain in place until your extraction site has completely healed. Here are some ways to keep your protective blood clot in place after your tooth extraction to reduce the risk for dry socket.
Avoid Straws And Smoking
The physical motion of sucking on a straw can dislodge your clot, so avoid using them for about a week or so after your tooth extraction. You should also avoid smoking while your extraction site is healing. Smokers may be at a higher risk for developing dry socket than non-smokers.
Like drinking through a straw, the physical motions of inhaling cigarette smoke can dislodge your clot. If possible, cut down on smoking a couple of weeks before your oral surgery. If you are unable to cut down on your own, ask your doctor to recommend interventions to help you.
These may include nicotine patches, nicotine replacement chewing gum, medication, and even smoking cessation support groups. If you are not ready to cut down or quit smoking, try to wait a couple of days after your tooth extraction before smoking, and when you do start smoking again, inhale gently.
You should also place a piece of gauze over the tooth socket when you smoke, as this will help protect your blood clot from cigarette smoke toxins and from dislodging.
Eat Soft Foods
Eat only soft foods for the first day after your tooth extraction. Foods such as yogurt, flavored gelatins, applesauce, and pudding are good choices. You can eat slightly harder foods on the second day if you can tolerate them.
Do not eat nuts, chips, seeds, candy, or crunchy foods such as raw fruits and vegetables because they can become lodged in your socket. Your dentist will tell you when it is safe to resume your regular diet again.
Consider the above interventions to help keep your protective blood clot in place after your tooth extraction. If your blood clot dislodges, or if you develop an increase in pain, heavy bleeding, fever, chills, or if you are unable to open your mouth, see your dental services provider right away.