How to Treat (and Prevent) Dry Socket Naturally
A dry socket (or alveolar osteitis) is a horribly painful condition that can happen to some people following a tooth extraction or other oral surgery.
What is Dry Socket
A socket is a hole in the bone where the tooth was removed. When the tooth is removed, a blood clot is formed to protect the bones and nerves. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot is dislodged, and the bone below is left exposed to food, saliva and bacteria that can become lodged in the clot place, causing pain, discomfort and slowed healing times.
Dry socket is fairly rare following extraction of most teeth, but becomes alarmingly common when an impacted wisdom tooth is extracted: up to 30% of these extractions result in dry socket. However, this condition is preventable—and if you already have it, there are some home remedies you can try in order to get back on the road to healing.
How to Prevent Dry Socket from Occurring
Suction is the number one factor that contributes to dry socket. Suction that can cause the clot to become dislodged, so you should avoid:
- Drinking through straws
- Hot food and drink
- Eating any foods that involve sucking (popsicles, lollipops, etc.)
Smoking is a particular concern—a 2004 study performed by researchers from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne found that cigarette smokers were more likely to develop dry socket, and that smoking contributed to longer healing times after tooth extraction surgery.
With all the adverse effects that cigarette smoking is known to have on health and wellness, it comes as no surprise that it can interfere with surgical healing, as well. Smoking must absolutely be avoided for two days after surgery, and chewing tobacco must be avoided for seven days. If you want to quit smoking you can follow these 5 natural ways to quit smoking.
Follow any instructions given to you by your oral surgeon to the letter. Most of the time, the risk of dry socket has passed within a week and you can resume normal eating and drinking once you feel comfortable doing so after that time.
Natural Remedies for Dry Socket
Some people with dry socket opt to run back to the doctor who performed their extraction for relief. The pain can be exquisite, and may last for a month or longer. However, there are some home remedies that, while not backed by hard science, are said to provide immediate relief by people who have used them for their own dry socket pain. Here are a few of these remedies and how to use them.
Apply clove oil
Clove essential oil, also called eugenol, has antibacterial and pain-reducing properties that make it popular for use in dentistry and it’s also one of the natural remedies for gum infection (gingivitis).
To use clove oil to treat a dry socket, dilute a few drops in carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil and soak a piece of gauze in the solution. Place the gauze into the dry socket area and bite down. Change the dressing a few times per day.
If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-bookMagical Aromatherapy. This e-book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.
Tuck in gauze or a tea bag
You can also treat a dry socket by simply wetting gauze with clean water and tucking it against the painful area.
Tea bags are also popular for treating dry socket, as the tannins in green or black tea can provide relief and may even promote proper blood flow to the dry socket itself, thus speeding healing. There are other14 great uses for your used teabags.
Use a saline rinse
Make a saline solution by dissolving a teaspoon of salt into a cup of room-temperature water.
Swish very gently with this mixture several times per day, being careful not to make too many sucking motions as you do so. This can help keep the dry socket moist, and the salt water acts as an antiseptic to ward off infection.
Apply a cold compress to the face
Making an ice pack and applying it to the side of your face where the dry socket is can provide relief from pain and inflammation.
Place ice cubes into a small, sealable plastic bag and then wrap the bag in a soft cloth, then hold the bag on the outside of your face for 10 to 15 minutes. This may be done a few times per day.
Alternately, you may use a bag of frozen vegetables as a cold compress. While applying a cold compress may not aid in the healing of the socket itself, it can help to ease pain and swelling.
Hydrate your body
Keeping well-hydrated is always good advice (as it has amazing health benefits), but when you have a dry socket it can help the dry, tender area re-moisturize and possibly make the healing process take less time.
A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (in pounds) in water (in ounces) per day to remain well-hydrated. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, drink at least 70 ounces of water per day to stay fully hydrated. Pay a special attention to these 7 warning signs that tell you that your body is lacking water.
Flush and clean the socket
Your dental care provider may tell you to flush your socket, and provide a curved hollow syringe that you can fill with water and aim at the dry socket to clean it out, clearing away any bits of food or other debris that may be stuck within the socket and causing irritation.
A dry socket cannot heal if it isn’t clean, so flushing it out can help along the healing process when other methods have failed to provide relief.
How to Naturally Relieve The Pain and Inflammation
If you suffer from pain and inflammation, you’ll be please to find out that mother nature has a lot to offer you. You can find more information in my article about the 22 natural pain killers in your kitchen.
There are certain type of foods that can help you to relive pain and inflammation – get all the information in my article about the 15 natural alternative to Ibuprofen.