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Women's Dental Health
How to Prevent the Pain of Dry Socket Syndrome

Women are more likely than men to suffer from a complication of tooth extraction known as dry socket. Normally, a blood clot forms in the bony socket of a recently removed tooth. This clot serves as a scaffold around which tissues grow to permanently heal the portable dental carewound.

In some cases, however, the clot does not form properly or is prematurely lost. The underlying bone is exposed and becomes inflamed creating a "dry socket".

The pain caused by a dry socket usually begins a few days after the extraction and can be moderate to severe in intensity. Sometimes the pain can even radiate to the jaw or ear. Other symptoms of dry socket include bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.

When a patient does have dry socket, dentists will cleanse the socket and pack it with medicated dressing or medicated paste. The dentist may also prescribe pain killers to help ease the pain.

Women taking oral contraceptives are even more likely to suffer with dry socket than women not taking oral contraceptives. This is due to the estrogen contained in the contraceptives. Estrogen seems to interfere with the normal clotting process. Dentists suggest that women taking oral contraceptives, have teeth extracted only during the last 5 days of their menstrual cycle when estrogen levels are lowest.

Other things you can do to reduce your chances of suffering dry socket after a tooth extraction:

  • Avoid using straws as the change in pressure within your mouth can displace a newly formed clot
  • Avoid smoking which can infect the blood clot within the bony socket
  • Avoid using commercial mouthwashes which contain substances that can destroy blood clots
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  • Disclaimer: The information contained within is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical care. Those persons with specific medical questions should consult their dentist, doctor, or other medical care provider.

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