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Oral Surgery/Dry Socket Risk

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Question
Hello,

Yesterday, I had my upper left wisdom tooth and the molar immediately in front of it removed.

Since then, I have been very gentle.  The only things I've eaten are grits and milk (and that was just now... 26 hours after the procedure), I'm afraid to drink, and I'm even afraid to swallow my saliva for fear that the suction resulting will dislodge the clots and send me on what I assume to be an agonizing journey toward healing.

I was told to use the gauze until the bleeding stopped... there's no blood, but I'm still using the gauze in hopes that it will help to sort of absorb some of the saliva and diffuse the suction force when I do have to swallow.

Realistically, how long do I have to live in fear that the clots will become dislodged?  The tech at the dentist's office told me that it could be months before it was fully healed, but I thought the dentist said something about it closing up within two or three days.

Thank you!

Brian

Answer
Brian -  predicting what causes post-extraction problems, if the surgery was done correctly can be difficult.  The best way to prevent a difficulty is to begin rinsing with warm salt water 48 hours after the extraction, 3-4 times per day for 10 seconds.  In addition, eating a soft diet is a good idea, as long as a gentle rinsing follows.  Keep every object off of the socket after the bleeding stops.

So if you wish the area to heal correctly, don't use the gauze, it can cause a clot problem.  Eat soft food and rinse gently with warm salt water after eating.  The tech is wrong.  A complete healing can take a few weeks, but do not over treat or irritate the area.  Leave the area alone and it will heal well.  The tech knows nothing if she made that statement.  

Oral Surgery

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired

Expertise

I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.

Experience

Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

Organizations
American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Education/Credentials
BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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