One of the most common complications faced by patients who have had their wisdom teeth removed is dry sockets. This painful condition develops when the blood clots that protect the sensitive nerve endings in the empty sockets either fail to form or are dislodged completely.
Fortunately, patients can take action to prevent dry sockets. Drinking beverages through straws significantly increases the risk of dry sockets, so patients should abstain from using straws until the oral surgeon tells them it’s safe to do so. Smoking also increases the risk of dry sockets, so stay away from cigarettes, cigars, etc. for at least several days after the procedure. Ideally, if you’re a smoker, you’ll consider giving up the habit permanently. You should also adjust your diet to include only softer foods for the first few days after your procedure.
Your oral surgeon may give you other post-operative instructions to reduce your risk of dry sockets.
If you do develop dry sockets, you may notice bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth in addition to pain in your teeth. Patients who notice these symptoms should contact our office immediately to follow up and get treatment for this issue as soon as possible.
Another risk following wisdom tooth extraction is infection. Your surgeon may prescribe a preventive course of antibiotics. If you are taking these medications, be sure to complete the entire course, even if you are not symptomatic. Symptoms of post-operative infection may include pain, fever and bad breath. Be sure to keep your mouth clean, as instructed by your surgeon, to limit the presence of bacteria that can cause infection.
Prior to your extraction, your surgeon will give you thorough instructions for self-care at home. Follow these instructions carefully, and make sure that you understand all of them so that you reduce your risk of dry sockets and other complications following wisdom tooth removal. If you have any questions or develop any concerning symptoms after having your wisdom teeth removed, call our office as soon as possible for further direction.