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Section Questions and Answers

Extraction of Teeth

  1. Why must a good blood clot form after a tooth has been extracted?
  2. What is done to stop the bleeding after an extraction?
  3. What precautions can be taken after the extraction?
  4. What can be done about facial swelling after an extraction?
  5. What is dry socket?
  6. What are the symptoms of dry socket?
  7. How does it happen?
  8. What is the treatment for dry socket?

 
1. Why must a good blood clot form after a tooth has been extracted?

  • It is very important for a good blood clot to form after a tooth has been extracted.
    It acts as a bandage over the exposed bone in the socket and assists the healing process.

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After extractions

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2. What is done to stop the bleeding after an extraction?

  • Your dentist will place a wad of cotton wool and gauze over the socket for you to bite on.
    • This should stop the bleeding.
      There may be a slight seepage for a few hours, but this will pass.
    • If the bleeding does not stop, tell your dentist.

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3. What precautions can be taken after the extraction?

  • Care needs to be taken after an extraction to prevent the blood clot from becoming infected or dislodged:
    • Do not rinse your mouth on the day of the extraction.
    • The blood clot will have a better chance of staying in place to assist the healing.
    • Gentle rinsing can begin the day after the extraction.
    • Make sure that you rinse all food out of the socket. Food left in the socket may prevent healing by becoming infected.
    • Don't smoke for a few days. It may inhibit the healing process.

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4. What can be done about facial swelling after an extraction?

  • An ice pack can be applied to the swollen part of the face.
    This can be repeated frequently for short periods at a time.

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5. What is Dry Socket?

  • Dry socket is an infection of the socket after an extraction.
    • The dry socket gets its name from the condition, in which there is not enough bleeding to form a clot.
    • The dental term for it is an osteitis of the socket, which means an infection of the bone in the socket.
    • It is also known as a "septic" socket, which is a better description than "dry" socket.
    • The lower molars are affected more often than other teeth.

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6. What are the symptoms of dry socket?

  • Pain may start two to four days after the extraction.
    • The pain feels like a toothache but it is much more severe than the original toothache.
    • It can be excruciatingly painful.

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7. How does it happen?

  • Dry socket comes about in the following way:
    • Healing cannot take place without the formation of a blood clot.
    • There may be insufficient bleeding to allow the clot to build up. This does sometimes happen after an extraction.
    • Rinsing too soon may dislodge the clot or prevent it from forming correctly.
    • The blood may break down, leaving the bone in the socket exposed.
      This can happen if the patient is on blood thinning medication.
      You need to inform the dentist if you are on this treatment.
    • An infection of the socket can follow a difficult extraction, or the extraction of a tooth with an abscess.

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8. What is the treatment for dry socket?

  • The dentist will attend to the condition:
    • A paste containing an analgesic together with an antiseptic or antibiotic, can be placed into the socket.
    • In addition to packing the socket with a dressing, the dentist may prescribe a separate antibiotic or analgesic, or both.
    • The treatment may need to be repeated until healing is under way, and the pain has stopped.

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