Dry Socket Causes Pain For Wisdom Tooth

Long ago, wisdom teeth were vital to the survival of early humans. Anthropologists hypothesize that wisdom teeth were necessary for of our ancestor’s due to their diet of harder to chew foods like meat, roots and leaves. Thanks to advances in human evolution, our softer diets and tools such as forks and knives have made wisdom teeth less of a necessity and more of a nuisance for some. In addition, the human jaw has become smaller, according to Science Line, as evolution has progressed making it harder for wisdom teeth to find enough space to erupt safely.

Extracting Wisdom Teeth
According to an article published in the American Journal of Public Health, ten million wisdom teeth are removed each year. Sometimes called third molars, these teeth begin forming around age ten and don’t typically erupt until sometime between the age of maturity, 17 to 25. Hence, the nickname wisdom teeth.

Due to shrinking jaw sizes throughout the centuries, wisdom teeth often have trouble when they come through the gum line, according to oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Kevin Pollock, MS, DDS of Rockwall Oral and Facial Surgery in Texas.

“When a third molar cannot erupt because of space issues or other complication, it’s called impacted,” said Pollock. “Impacted wisdom teeth should be removed before their root structure is fully developed. Of course, this happens on an individual basis depending on each patient’s unique situation. It can happen as early as 12 or 13 or take as long as the early 20s.”

Dry Sockets Cause Pain After Wisdom Tooth Removal 
After wisdom teeth have been extracted, it’s important to pay attention to the instructions the surgeon or dentists provides. It’s normal to experience some pain, swelling and bleeding after surgery.

“The most common complication after a wisdom teeth removal is called dry sockets,” said Pollock. “If the blood clot in the empty tooth socket is removed or lost too soon, which can cause inflammation and a much more intense pain than is normal in the recovery process.”

Pollock said most surgeons and dentists recommend the following to avoid dry socket:

  • No smoking
  • No sucking through straws
  • Don’t rinse the mouth for 24 hours
  • Change cotton gauze dressing regularly
  • Tell your doctor or dentist about any medications you are taking before the surgery
  • Avoid spitting
  • Rinse the mouth gently with salt water after the first 24 hours is up
  • Don’t touch the area with any objects including your hands
  • Eat soft foods only
  • Be very careful when brushing teeth after the surgery until healing is complete
  • Avoid carbonated drinks

If dry socket does occur, or you suspect it might be the cause of any intense pain, fever or odor, Pollock recommends calling your surgeon or dentist immediately.

“Your dentist can clean the area and treat it with medicated gauze to avoid infection,” he said. “It’s usually a good idea to be placed on an antibiotic and possibly some medication to help with the pain depending on the severity of the situation.”