Dentists often recommend wisdom tooth removal when the back teeth are severely impacted. The procedure is usually safe, but there can be a risk of developing dry socket. This basically refers to a situation where the blood clot that forms over the extracted wisdom tooth gets dislodged, causing pain and bleeding.

The clot helps to encourage healing of the nerves and blood vessels while protecting the underlying bone from contact with food particles, saliva and bacteria. Dry socket is often characterized by a dry looking opening where the tooth was extracted, bleeding, and a throbbing pain that radiates from the socket and reaches the ear. Although dry socket is usually incredibly painful to endure, it can be easily prevented using the tips below. 

Rinse gently and rest

The best way to allow the extraction site to heal properly is to avoid strenuous activity immediately after the surgery. Vigorous exercise can dislodge the blood clot protecting the extraction site, causing increased sensitivity and the risk of inflammation.

Using a medicated oral rinse or salt water is usually recommended to remove bacteria around the extraction site, but be careful not to rinse too vigorously. Swishing forcefully can dislodge the clot and leave you with exposed bone, so rinse gently and avoid brushing the exposed socket. In fact, you should avoid touching the wound at all costs except when changing your gauze. 

Eat the right foods

Hard foods such as candy and popcorn are probably best avoided post wisdom tooth surgery, as they can easily cause injury to the extraction site. Sticky foods such as pasta may also increase the risk of dry socket, so it is best to exclude them from your diet until you heal completely.

Foods such as soup, pudding, mashed potatoes, and yogurt are probably best, as they are often easy to eat and won't leave residual particles in the extraction site. In case food is accidentally lodged inside the hole, visit a dental clinic immediately. Your dentist should be able to safely remove the food particles and probably apply a medicated paste to promote healing. 

Sucking actions by the mouth may also cause dry socket, so be sure to avoid smoking, forceful spitting, or using straws.

The tips above can help you avoid the discomfort that comes with dry socket, ensuring your wound heals quickly. In case of any persistent pain, swelling, or bleeding in the extraction site, consult a dentist for examination.