Have you ever had a tooth extraction? If so, you might have experienced dry socket. A common side effect of dental extractions, this painful condition can lead to swelling and other complications if not treated properly. But what are the warning signs of dry socket, exactly? Take A look on see the pictures of dry socket If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you might want to contact your dentist immediately. And be sure to use this guide as a handy reference in the future if you know someone who is getting their teeth pulled in the near future!
The pain is constant
When you have dry socket, you’ll be constantly aware of it. It doesn’t hurt all day, but you can feel it anytime your mouth moves and especially whenever there is pressure against your gums or teeth. This may mean when you eat or drink, kiss or talk.
You’ll find yourself dreading eating or drinking anything hot or cold because that can cause more pain, which is a problem since many foods and drinks are hot or cold. However, a dry socket isn’t quite as painful as having a tooth pulled (also known as tooth extraction). In fact, an extracted tooth typically has four roots instead of three like normal teeth do, so it takes longer to heal.
In addition to its constant sensitivity to hot and cold foods, an extracted tooth often contains fillings or other dental work like crowns and bridges; these fillings can act as places for bacteria to hide from antibiotics meant to stop infections while they attempt to fight their way into remaining root structures. All of these things contribute to increased levels of discomfort.
Your gums look damaged
When your gums start to feel damaged or like they’re pulling away from your teeth, you’ll need to see a dentist right away. This is typically a sign that an infection has taken hold. If a tooth isn’t properly positioned in its socket, it’s at risk for losing blood supply and ultimately dying. When that happens, we refer to it as dry socket.
But here’s some good news: if you catch it early on, there are steps you can take before you even walk into your dentist’s office. For example, rinse with salt water for about 10 minutes once an hour until you get into see your dentist—it should help prevent more serious problems down the road and also ease pain in most cases.
There’s pus in your mouth
When your tooth has been pulled, you want to make sure that healing goes smoothly. To ensure recovery is going well, keep an eye out for some key warning signs. Pain in your tooth or face, redness in gums, bleeding—these are all symptoms of dry socket. If you experience any pain following a dental procedure, it’s important to contact your dentist right away—it may not be dry socket per se, but if left untreated pain can easily turn into a major infection.
You have lost a filling
If you have lost a filling, it can be tempting to ignore it and just hope that your dentist will not notice when you go in for your next appointment. This may seem like a good idea at first; however, there are warning signs that you should look out for so that you can get dental treatment right away.
The most common sign is pain; symptoms include sensitivity and soreness in or around your tooth, as well as pain throughout your jaw. It’s also possible to experience mild swelling in these areas as well. Most patients report noticing these symptoms within 24 hours after their filling has fallen out.
It still hurts even when you aren’t eating
Pain after a dental procedure is common, but if you still feel pain in your mouth when you’re not eating (even if it goes away when you chew), that could be a sign of dry socket. When food gets stuck and infected inside an empty tooth socket, it can lead to dry socket. More commonly, dry socket happens after wisdom teeth are extracted; dentists recommend taking pain relievers and speaking with your dentist right away if you think your symptoms might be due to dry socket.
When treated properly, most cases resolve on their own within 2-3 weeks. But in more severe cases, teeth may need to be removed or medication may be required. Your doctor will let you know what steps need to be taken next.
There is tenderness on top of the tooth where you had it removed
If your mouth is already sore from pulling your tooth, it’s best to leave it alone, but if you notice any tenderness on top of where you had your tooth removed, then that’s a sign of dry socket. A cotton swab can help determine whether there’s an abscess forming on top of your tooth that will eventually cause a dry socket. If you do have an abscess, you should see a dentist right away—do not use over-the-counter pain relief as they may exacerbate symptoms and delay proper treatment. The photo to the left shows what an abscess looks like inside your mouth; note how much more pronounced it is on top compared to other areas around where your tooth was pulled.