Though the idea of lying outstretched, with the dentist prodding the infected tooth with tools, is dreaded by most of us, those who don't pay heed to dental care, will sooner or later, have to go through dental treatments. Tooth extraction and root canal treatment are the most common dental procedures. Tooth extraction is often recommended by dentists when a tooth starts rotting due to the action of bacteria. If the bacteria find a way into the living pulp tissue, and start damaging the gums, living pulp tissue or the bone at the end of the affected tooth, the dentist may extract the infected tooth. Tooth extraction helps in preventing the infection from spreading to the adjoining teeth. Though extracting the affected tooth, can help in alleviating the distressing symptoms of an infected tooth, precautions must be taken to prevent the tooth socket from getting infected. A tooth socket, which is medically referred to as dental alveolus, is the cavity or hole in which the roots of the teeth are embedded. The socket becomes exposed after the extraction of the tooth. In this article, we will look into the causes of an infected tooth socket along with ways to prevent and treat this dental problem.
When Does a Tooth Socket Ge Infected
Oozing of pus, bad breath and bad taste in mouth after a tooth extraction are all signs of infection in the tooth socket. This is one of the most common complications of a difficult tooth extraction. This is the reason why extraction of a wisdom tooth may lead to an infected wisdom tooth socket. A dry socket, which is medically referred to as alveolar osteitis, is one condition that may make one vulnerable to an infection in the tooth socket. Once a tooth is extracted, the dentist places a gauze pad so as to stop the blood from oozing from the socket. This blood clot acts as a protective covering and speeds up the healing process. It also helps in protecting the nerves and bones that are present underneath. It is therefore, extremely important that the bleeding stops and a blood clot forms over the socket. If one indulges in smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol within 24 to 48 hours of the tooth extraction, this blood clot can get dissolved. As a result of the dissolution of the blood clot, the nerves and the bone get exposed. The socket then appears to be dry and the bone becomes visible. Since the socket is exposed, food debris can collect within. Anything that may prevent blood clotting at the site of tooth extraction needs to be avoided. If left untreated, the socket may get infected and one may develop a fever, along with pain and tenderness at the extraction site. The surrounding bone tissues can also get affected. Accumulation of pus will cause a bad odor and may leave a bad taste in the mouth.
How to Prevent a Tooth Socket From Getting Infected
The blood that clots over the socket acts as protective cover for the bone and the nerves underneath, so, make sure that you don't indulge in any activity that may cause dissolution of the blood clot. Refrain from rinsing your mouth vigorously and chewing hard foods. Smoking or consumption of alcohol or carbonated beverages can also cause dissolution of the blood clot. Spitting forcefully or drinking through a straw can create pressure and disturb the blood clot, so, refrain from spitting or sucking fluids through a straw. Though maintaining oral hygiene is extremely important to prevent an infection, don't run the toothbrush over the socket. If the blood clot has got dislodged and the bone is exposed, consult a dentist immediately. Since this condition can cause severe pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers are usually prescribed. If the pain is too severe, nerve block injections may be given. Antibiotics will also be prescribed to treat the infection. The tooth socket will be cleaned, and a medicated dressing will be applied on the socket. This dressing will need to be changed within three to six days.
If you have recently got an infected tooth extracted, make sure that you follow the aforementioned precautions to prevent a dry socket or an infected socket. If you have suffered from an infected tooth or other dental problems, you would already be aware of how debilitating tooth pain can be. Though one can follow certain home remedies to reduce the discomfort, severe infection will need an extensive treatment. My suggestion to you would be to start paying heed to dental care and hygiene. This will prevent the recurrence of dental problems in future. After all, prevention is always better than cure.