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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Dry socket is a painful condition that develops 1 to 3 days after a permanent tooth has been extracted (removed). It happens when the blood clot at the site of the extraction dissolves, exposing your jawbone. Dry socket usually lasts only a few days. You may have a more serious condition if signs and symptoms continue for a week.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your swelling is so bad that you cannot close or open your mouth.
- You have trouble breathing.
Contact your dentist if:
- You continue to have pain even after you take pain medicine.
- Your signs or symptoms continue longer than 1 week.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed if you have an infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage or prevent dry socket:
- Apply ice to your jaw. Ice helps relieve pain and swelling. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Wrap a towel around it before you apply it to your jaw. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or as directed.
- Rinse with a chlorhexidine mouthwash before and after your tooth removal. Ask your healthcare provider where you can find an oral solution with chlorhexidine.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine in cigarettes and cigars can prevent your blood from clotting properly. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
Follow up with your dentist within 2 days, or as directed:
Your dentist may need to change or take out the packing. He or she will also check to see how your dry socket is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.