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Know Your Teeth - Infobites - Avoid Dry Socket With Wisdom Tooth Extractions -- Search By Keyword, Letter or Phrase - 1-877-2X-A-YEAR (1-877-292-9327)
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from the Academy of General Dentistry

Thursday, March 21, 2019
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Avoid Dry Socket With Wisdom Tooth Extractions

Chapter: How to Prevent Dry Socket

"Stop smoking for at least 24 hours after wisdom-teeth extractions. This is critical to preventing dry socket," says AGD spokesperson E. Mac Edington, DDS, MAGD, ABGD. Smoking decreases the blood supply to the protective blood clots, brings toxic products to the area decreasing healing, and the negative pressure of sucking can pull out a newly formed blood clot.


Studies show that high levels of estrogen found in the first 22 days of the menstrual cycle and in many oral contraceptives can double a woman's chance of developing dry socket. Dr. Edington recommends that all female patients on oral contraceptives schedule tooth extractions during days 23 to 28 of their menstrual cycle to reduce this risk.


After wisdom teeth extraction, increased commitment to proper oral healthcare and nutrition helps reduce one's risk of dry socket. This includes not eating any food with residuals (popcorn, peanuts and pasta) three to four days following the procedure. Eating soft foods such as mashed potatoes, clear soup and pudding helps ensure food particles do not interfere with the normal formation and healing of the blood clots.


"Even chicken noodle soup can be hazardous following wisdom teeth extractions," says Dr. Edington. "One patient came in with dry socket and he didn't know why…I ended up removing a noodle that displaced the blood clot."


Additional tips to prevent dry socket:


  • Avoid spitting, sucking on a straw and drinking carbonated soft drinks for two to three days following the procedure.
  • Gently brush adjacent teeth and rinse with salt water after meals to keep the mouth free of excess bacteria.
  • Talk to your dentist about all medications you're taking, including oral contraceptives, aspirin and herbal supplements.

Updated: October 2008