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After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the area which allows healing by protecting the exposed nerves and bone. However, if the blood clot is displaced, pain and infection can result which is called dry socket. You can prevent dry socket from developing by taking some of the following steps.

  • Do not disturb the extraction site with your tongue or by chewing food near it.
  • Avoid rinsing your mouth for at least 24 hours after the extraction. Afterwards, gently rinse it with salt water.
  • Avoid rigorous activities and exercise because they may dislodge the blood clot.
  • Do not smoke or chew tobacco because it delays healing and can contaminate the extraction site.
  • Avoid drinking through a straw for at least 24 hours because it can disrupt the blood clot formation.
  • If you are able, avoid medications that can increase your chances of getting a dry socket such as oral contraceptives and corticosteroids.

Also be sure to follow the instructions your dentist gives you after a tooth extraction. If you see any signs of a dry socket such as pain, bone exposure, bad breath, swelling, or fever, see your dentist as soon as possible for treatment.