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After a tooth extraction, it may take a few days for the swelling to subside and for life to return to normal; however, while waiting to recover, there are some important steps to preventing a condition called dry socket. You may be wondering what dry socket is and why it is important to prevent the issue.

Dry socket is a condition that can occur when the blood clot, normally formed after an extraction, becomes dislodged, leaving the bone and nerve exposed to air, which can be quite painful. If this happens, it is best to notify your dentist for treatment by calling, 773-947-4665. To prevent dry socket from forming, there are some key steps to take before an extraction and after, which include:

-Choosing a dentist who has experience in tooth extractions, to minimize the expectancy of the trauma during and after the procedure
-Having good oral health, to reduce the risk of developing dry socket (this may include a dental cleaning before the extraction)
-For women on birth control, choosing dental extractions during the last week of their menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels are lower
-Stopping smoking at least 24-hours before a tooth extraction
After the tooth extraction, here are some steps to prevent dry socket:
-Allow the site to completely heal over before participating in sports or over-exerting yourself with exercise
-Refrain from drinking through the straw, since the force of the suction can dislodge the clot
-Avoid excessive mouth rinsing
-Eat soft foods and avoiding hot drinks and foods

If you have any questions, concerns, or think you may have developed dry socket, please contact Dr. William Wilson, at Chicago Osteopathic Hospital Dental Clinic PC. Treatment for dry socket in Chicago, Illinois, may include pain medication, applying medicated dressing, and rinsing and/or cleaning the socket.