How to Treat (and Prevent) Dry Socket Naturally
What is dry socket?
Dry socket is a relatively unusual but nonetheless painful condition following a tooth extraction. It is characterized by a throbbing pain and sometimes accompanied by foul smelling breath and a nasty taste in the mouth.
Dry socket only occurs following around 2% of extractions but that figure rises significantly when it involves wisdom tooth extraction. It is caused when the tooth socket fails to full fully clot after the extraction. When you get a tooth pulled out, the first stage of healing is the formation of a blood clot which protects the jawbone beneath it.
In some cases however, blood clotting is partial or absent leaving the bone exposed, causing pain and delaying the healing process. There are certain risk factors that can increase the chance of dry socket including smoking, chewing tobacco, prior infections of the affected area and hormonal factors-women are more at risk than men.
If it is left untreated, dry socket will usually clear up within 7 to 10 days and during this time it is important to avoid smoking, using a straw to drink and vigorous rinsing and spitting.
While dry socket will clear up eventually of its own accord, it can be very painful and there is nothing quite like dental pain to put you in a very cross mood. This article will take a look at a number of effective home remedies that you can try to ease your symptoms and seed up the healing process.
Home Remedies for Dry Socket
Heal With Clove Oil
Clove oil has been used as a traditional medicine for treating toothaches since ages. It acts as an effective analgesic and antiseptic that helps relieve pain and prevents infection. Clove oil is a very effective natural cure for treating dry sockets.
If you are suffering from this condition, just apply some diluted clove oil in the tooth socket that has been affected.
You can also dip a small ball of cotton in olive oil and keep it over the dry socket. This will provide relief from the excruciating pain you are experiencing, and also prevent any infections from setting in.
Pain in the jaw and cheek is common among those suffering from dry socket. A cold compress is a tried-and-tested remedy that you can easily use at home to alleviate pain. The cold temperature has a numbing effect on the nerves, which reduces pain.
• Dip a thin towel in cold water and wring out the excess water.
• Place the cold towel on your face in the area where you are experiencing pain.
• Hold it there for about 15 minutes.
• Repeat 4 or 5 times a day for 2 days.
• After 2 days, switch to warm compresses to help decrease pain and swelling.
Use a salt water rinse. This will remove debris and help sooth inflammation.
• Add approximately half a teaspoon of salt to one cup of lukewarm water.
• Stir the salt water thoroughly, so that it is mostly dissolved.
• Gently swish the salt water around in your mouth, focusing on the affected side of your mouth.
• Repeat after each meal and before bed, and any times in between when you believe a saltwater rinse might be helpful.
Black Tea Bags
You can even use black tea bags to reduce the pain caused by a dry socket. The tannic acid present in the tea bag works like a natural antibiotic and helps reduce pain and swelling.
• Immerse a tea bag in a cup of hot water.
• After 5 minutes, remove and squeeze out the excess water.
• Put the tea bag in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and set the tea aside to cool down.
• Next, place the cold tea bag on the dry socket.
• Bite down on the tea bag with your teeth to keep it in place for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
• Then, use the tea to rinse your mouth.
• Repeat as needed.
Yogurt contains plenty of good bacteria that can fight off infection causing bacteria from the body, and promote a quick recovery from several ailments, including dry sockets. Consuming a cup of yogurt 3-4 times a day can therefore, quickly treat a dry socket and reduce its symptoms greatly.
Bite On Some Gauze
When saliva and air touch the dry socket, it worsens the pain. To prevent these from reaching the dry socket, take a piece of wet gauze and bite on it over the affected area.
This dry socket natural cure is very effective in reducing pain. Keep changing the gauze when you feel the need to do so.
Avoid using tobacco
Use of tobacco products may increase irritation, prolong the healing process, and leave wounds more susceptible to infection. In fact, this is a good time to give up on these bad habits which might be the cause behind your tooth extraction in the very first place!
Turmeric Powder Rinse
Rinsing the mouth with turmeric powder solution (contains antiseptic properties) can also be considered beneficial in the home treatment of dry sockets. A teaspoon of turmeric needs to be added to a glass of warm water. The solution needs to be stirred until the turmeric dissolves completely. Rinsing the mouth with this solution 3-4 times every day can therefore, reduce the symptoms of a dry socket significantly, and treat the condition quickly.
As garlic is anti-inflammatory and a natural antibiotic, it is also effective at reducing pain in the gums and teeth due to dry socket. It can even reduce the risk of an infection.
• Place a fresh garlic clove in your mouth and crush it with your teeth. As the juice of the garlic will spread inside your mouth, the pain will gradually subside. Spit out the clove after 5 minutes and rinse your mouth with warm water. Do this 2 or 3 times a day or as needed.
• Alternatively, make a paste of 2 fresh garlic cloves and a little salt using a mortar and pestle. Apply this paste to the extraction site for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Repeat as needed to relieve pain.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Cleansing your mouth with apple cider vinegar can help prevent infection after tooth extraction, thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
• Mix equal parts of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and water. Use it as a mouth rinse 2 or 3 times a day.
• Another option is to dip a cotton ball in the solution prepared above and place it on the affected area. Hold it there for about 10 minutes. Repeat 2 times a day.
Eat Soft Foods and Stay Hydrated
After getting your wisdom tooth removed, it is essential to stay hydrated to reduce the risk of dry socket. Lack of water in the body will halt cellular migration, decrease oxygenation of the blood and delay healing of the wound. Also, during the first two days after a dental extraction, you need to be careful about what you eat.
• Drink plain water at regular intervals throughout the day. However, try to drink from the side of the mouth opposite from the extraction site as much as possible.
• Stick to soft foods like smoothies, yogurt, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, clear soup and pudding. As your wound starts healing, shift from soft to semi-soft foods.
• You can even eat ice cream. Since it is cold, it will help reduce pain.
• Do not eat anything that leaves residual food particles in your mouth for a few days.
• Avoid eating hard, chewy, crunchy and spicy foods for a few days. These foods may pool in the socket and cause irritation or infection.
• While eating, chew on the other side of your mouth.
• Always look for a dentist or oral surgeon with experience in tooth extractions.
• Do not increase the dosage of prescription medications or take over-the-counter painkillers without consulting your dentist.
• Visit your dentist as scheduled for dressing changes and other care. If your pain returns or worsens before your next appointment, feel free to call your dentist.
• Women taking oral contraceptives who need to have their wisdom teeth removed should schedule it during the last week of their monthly birth control pills’. High estrogen levels due to oral contraceptives may increase the risk of dry socket.
• Use antibacterial mouthwashes and toothpastes before and after surgery.
• For a few days following a tooth extraction surgery, avoid the extraction site while brushing your teeth.
• For a week after your surgery, avoid rigorous exercise and other physical activities that might result in dislodging the blood clot from the socket.
• Before your surgery, always inform your dentist about any prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements you are taking.
• Do not use straws for sipping anything within the first week of an extraction to reduce the risk of dry socket.
• Maintain proper oral hygiene to help heal a dry socket.
• Do not touch the wound with your fingers or other objects.
• Try to sleep with your head elevated to reduce pain.
Compiled by Manizheh Soleimani Fard
Healthy Teeth for Healthy Hearts
What to Do About a Bad Taste in Mouth?
What is tooth decay?