Getting stitches is pretty common after dental surgery or tooth extraction. In most cases, the procedure is successful, and within a week or two, the wound heals completely. However, one of the complications of wound healing after tooth extraction is a dry socket. It’s a condition that occurs when the blood clot is dislodged, exposing the bone to air, saliva, and food particles. The result is severe pain, bad breath, and difficulty eating or drinking. But can you get a dry socket with stitches? In this blog, we’ll discuss the chances of getting a dry socket with stitches, as well as ways to prevent it.
What is a Dry Socket?
A dry socket occurs when the blood clot that forms in the socket after tooth extraction dissolves or gets dislodged, leaving the bone exposed. When this happens, the nerves, bones, and tissues become vulnerable to bacteria, food debris, and air, leading to inflammation and infection.
A dry socket can cause intense pain that can last weeks and delay healing. It’s also accompanied by bad breath, a foul taste in the mouth, and difficulty eating or drinking.
Can You Get a Dry Socket with Stitches?
Yes, you can get a dry socket even if you have stitches. After tooth extraction, your dentist or surgeon may use stitches to close the wound and help the healing process. However, having stitches doesn’t guarantee that a dry socket won’t occur.
However, having stitches can reduce the likelihood of a dry socket because they can help keep the blood clot in place and prevent bacteria and food particles from entering the wound.
Symptoms of a Dry Socket with Stitches
If you have a dry socket with stitches, the symptoms will be similar to those of a dry socket without stitches. The main symptom is intense pain in the area where the tooth was extracted.
- Experiencing intense pain within a few days following a tooth extraction.
- Partial or complete loss of the blood clot at the site where a tooth has been removed may result in the socket appearing empty.
- Visible bone within the socket.
- You may experience pain radiating from the socket to your ear, eye, temple, or neck on the same side of your face where the tooth was extracted.
- Bad breath or an unpleasant odor coming from your mouth.
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth.
What Causes Dry Socket Even With Stiches?
A dry socket is a condition that arises when the blood clot is either accidentally dislodged or fails to develop in the first place. The exact cause of a dry socket, even with stitches, is unclear, but some risk factors can increase the chance of developing one. These include:
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Having a difficult, complicated extraction procedure
- Having a tooth or gum infection before the extraction
- Not following tooth extraction after-care instructions, such as not refraining from using a straw, rinsing your mouth vigorously, or removing the gauze pad too early.
- Poor oral hygiene before and after the procedure.
- Taking certain medications like birth control pills and steroids
- Poor nutrition leads to a weakened immune system.
Treatment of Dry Socket with Stitches
Usually, your dentist or surgeon will remove the stitches and clean the socket to remove any debris or bacteria causing the issue. The socket will then be packed with a medicated dressing to encourage healing and reduce inflammation and pain. Dressing changes may be necessary every few days until the socket is healed.
Additionally, they may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection in the area.
Your dentist or surgeon will likely recommend a follow-up visit within one to two weeks after the extraction procedure so that they can check for signs of a dry socket and ensure proper healing.
Managing Pain and Discomfort
To manage pain and discomfort, your dentist or surgeon may recommend over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Avoid aspirin as it may increase the risk of bleeding.
Additionally, they may also advise the use of cold compresses or ice packs to reduce swelling.
Once the dressing is removed, practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled brush and floss gently at least once daily.
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol; these activities can delay healing. Additionally, avoid using straws for the first week after surgery because they may dislodge the clot in your tooth socket.
Be sure to eat a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals. This will help to promote healing and reduce the risk of dry sockets.
Finally, if you notice any signs of a dry socket or infection, such as increased pain or swelling, contact your dentist or surgeon immediately.
Follow your dentist’s post-operative instructions to reduce your risk of developing dry sockets after an extraction procedure:
- Follow post-operative instructions carefully.
- Bite down lightly on the gauze after the procedure for an hour.
- Don’t spit or rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours.
- Avoid touching the extraction site with your tongue or finger.
- Eat only soft foods such as yogurt and mashed potatoes for the first few days.
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol for at least 48 hours after surgery.
- Use ice packs or cold compresses to reduce pain and swelling.
- Avoid activities that can disrupt the healing process, such as using a straw or sports activities.
- Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids to ensure proper hydration.
- Talk to your dentist or surgeon about medications that may increase your risk of developing dry sockets, such as aspirin or birth control pills.
- Inform your dentist or surgeon if you experience any changes in pain or discomfort levels following the procedure.
By following these simple steps, you can reduce your risk of developing dry sockets after an extraction procedure and ensure a smooth recovery.
Dry Socket with Stitches – Conclusion
Getting stitches after tooth extraction does not guarantee that a dry socket won’t occur. The condition occurs when a blood clot is dislodged from the socket or fails to form in the first place, which can happen even with stitches.
It is normal to experience some discomfort after tooth extraction; however, if the pain is intense, persists for more than a few days, or is getting worse despite taking medication, you should contact your dentist immediately. The pain may be accompanied by a bad taste or smell, which are signs of dry sockets.
Several factors can increase your risk of developing dry sockets, such as difficult extraction, smoking, and not following after-care instructions.
To prevent dry sockets, practice good oral hygiene and follow your dentist’s post-operative instructions, including avoiding touching the extraction site, not smoking at least 48 hours after surgery, and using cold compresses or ice packs to reduce pain and swelling.