Skip to main content
(770) 796-7081 Contact Us
How to Avoid Dry Socket Marietta, GA

How to Avoid Dry Socket

the fair-haired woman is holding her cheek because her tooth hurts

If you have ever had a tooth extracted, you may have heard warnings about avoiding dry socket. Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, occurs when the blood clot that forms in the empty tooth socket gets dislodged or disappears, and the sensitive tooth nerves and bone is exposed underneath. Not only can dry socket be very painful, but it can also greatly increase your risk for infection at the extraction site. Here’s a closer look at dry socket and how to avoid it the next time you have a tooth removed.

Shortly after a tooth is extracted, a blood clot naturally forms in the socket. This is your body’s way of forming a protective layer (like a scab) to cover up the nerves and bones that were recently exposed from extracting the tooth. This blood clot needs to stay intact and in place long enough for the extraction site to fully heal. When this process is disturbed or the clot gets removed, consequences can result.

Are You at a Greater Risk?

Fortunately, only about 2-5% of patients develop dry socket. There are many factors that can cause dry socket. Some are within your control, such as drinking through a straw or smoking. Others, however, may not be something you can change, like your advancing age or bone density.

Here are some common factors that can increase your risk for dry socket:

  • Advancing age
  • Bone density
  • Pre-existing infection
  • Lower molars
  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Women who use oral contraceptives or estrogen products
  • Poor oral hygiene

How Do I Know If I Have Dry Socket?

First and foremost, you’ll experience a notable increase in pain, usually four to five days after your oral surgery. Other symptoms can include an occasional foul taste in your mouth or bad breath.  Always inform your dentist immediately if you suspect you may have dry socket.

Avoiding Dry Socket

It is important to disclose your full medical history to your dentist before your tooth removal procedure, as certain medications and health conditions can influence the way your blood clots and thus lead to dry socket. In general, you will be given the following post-operative instructions to avoid dry socket:

  • No smoking for one-week post operation
  • Avoid using a straw for one week
  • Avoid irritating foods (spicy, hard, crunchy)
  • Avoid touching the socket
  • Avoid spitting
  • No vigorous activity
  • No vigorous swishing of fluids

Just because you feel fine the day after your tooth extraction, doesn’t mean you should hit the gym for a hard workout or go out for chips and salsa. Following these post-operative rules can ensure you don’t end up with worsening pain and a trip back to the dentist. For more information on tooth extractions and what to expect, contact Gilreath Dental Associates.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Family Dentistry

Schedule an Appointment

We’d love to have you as part of our practice family.
Please call us at (770) 796-7081.

Our Client Reviews
Gilreath Family Dentistry

5.0 / 5.0

Based on 307 reviews


Dr. Gilreath is incredible with my kids. They love going to the dentist now! And this busy mom loves the warm neck wraps, the soft music and enjoying a latte while I relax!

Kenneth H.

Was lucky enough to find these guys when I got insurance that my old dentist did not take. Very professional and friendly staff! Office has the latest greatest technology as well. If you're looking for a new dentist, search no further!

Susie L.

Very personable and friendly, they took the time to go over my complex dental history and did not pressure me into anything. They gave their recommendations and priced out any options I had. Great group!

Camille Y.

Dr. Gilreath and his staff are top notch. I received the best cleaning I've ever had while watching my favorite show. The Doctor and his staff were all very polite, friendly, and courteous. They explained everything to me clearly and presented me with options in a gentle way that didn't make me feel pressured at all. It's obvious they really care about the wellbeing of their patients. The facility and equipment is really nice as well. I will definitely be back!

Juan R.

Always willing to work around my kids and my schedules. Today I had a long appointment. They started on time and always made sure I was comfortable and that the pain was managed so the procedure could’ve been completed without issues. Very courteous and professional staff.

Lucia B.

Awesome dental practice! The staff is friendly and efficient. Dr. Gilreath is thorough and versed in the latest technology and procedures. I love that he can make crowns in the office while you wait (so no walking around with a temporary crown for days or weeks). I would strongly recommend this dental practice!

Matthew W.

I've been going here for about a little over a year now. I've had a few cleanings, a filling, and started Invisiline so far. Hands down, the best run dental office I've ever been to. In the past at other dental offices I often had to wait 30 or more minutes beyond my appointment time before being seen. At Dr. Gilreath's office I've been seen on time every time. They seem to have systems in place to make every part of your visit run smoothly. From how they took x-rays, to billing and appointments, to the work done by the hygienist/dentist, everything seems to run like a well oiled machine. On top of that all the staff are all friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The office space itself is also quite nice. Very clean, well maintained, and seems very "up to date" with their equipment. If you're looking for a dentist and are anywhere in the northwest metro area I would highly recommend Dr. Gilreath.

Jhion R.

The staff is always so courteous and personable. They make us feel like family every time we have an appointment. Service is excellent, too. My wife recently went for a cleaning and Dr. Gilreath noticed a chip in one of her fillings. He knew we recently had another baby and that her time was very limited so he went ahead and did the filling right then and there, an extra thirty minutes tops. Dr. Gilreath is always looking at the big picture and really knows his stuff. We will never go anywhere else

Our Office

Gilreath Family Dentistry

200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060

Call to Schedule an Appointment:
(770) 796-7081

Gilreath Family Dentistry waiting room Marietta GA.