Dry Socket Emergency
Pain From Dry Socket
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I had a lower jaw tooth pulled several weeks ago and I have been in constant pain ever since. My dentist says I have a dry socket, which he packed with some type of medicine. That helped for a while, but now the pain is almost unbearable again. What can I do to speed up the healing? How long do I have to suffer with this pain?
– John, Washington
Pain following an extraction is most often caused by one of the following four conditions:
- Dry Socket
- Fracture of Jawbone
A dry socket occurs after an extraction due to the lack of formation or the loss of a blood clot in the space. Normally, a stable blood clot covers the bony walls of the socket and helps new bone to form. When lost, the nerve endings of the "dry " bone are exposed and cause extreme pain until the body covers the bone with connective tissue and epithelial cells. It can take several weeks for this natural healing process to cover over the bone.
A fracture of the jawbone can occur in difficult extractions. Sometimes part of the jaw can crack and pain may occur from this fracture.
Osteonecrosis of the jawbone has been a hot topic in the dental community over the last two years. Osteonecrosis means, "bone death"; it is a condition marked by death of bone tissue. It appears more frequently in patients taking Fosamax and other bone-building drugs (often used in treating arthritis or osteoporosis) after a tooth extraction or periodontal surgery. It only occurs in a small percentage of patients and it should be discussed with both your physician and dentist.
Infection symptoms include fever, swelling, pain, redness to the affected area, and a foul smell. Infection can be treated with antibiotic therapy and curettage or drainage.
If your dentist is not sure of the proper diagnosis, then I would recommend you ask for a referral to a specialist such as a periodontist or oral surgeon.
Video: Patient Walk-through of Wisdom Teeth Extraction | Boston Children's Hospital
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