A dry socket is a common condition that typically develops after tooth extraction, and often manifests as sharp excruciating pain within the jaw. This socket develops when the blood clot present following the formation of the cavity dissolves, hence the use of the term ‘dry’. Once this happens, the empty space exposes the nerve endings to fluid and food, causing intense pain. For this reason, it is important to realize that the blood clot that forms after tooth removal is integral to quick healing and recovery as well as the protection of the nerves.
In the absence of this clot for whatever reason, the formation of a dry socket delays healing and places you at risk of gum infections. Some of the factors that predispose you to the formation of a dry socket include trauma to the jaw, soreness as well as contamination owing to the presence of food particles in the cavity. Some of the symptoms associated with a dry socket include loss of the blood clot, pain that radiates from the site of the extracted tooth, bad mouth odor as well as pain that does not relent up to 4 days after the dental procedure. in some cases, the exposure of bones at the site is also seen in cases of a dry socket.
Risk factors that make it easy to get a dry socket include the removal of wisdom teeth in adulthood, chronic smoking as well as poor dental hygiene. The availability of home remedies that you can use to ease the pain go a long way in speeding the process of recovery and providing much needed relief from dry socket.
NOTE :It is important to highlight the fact that these remedies should only be used as adjunct treatment in line with the medical options prescribed by your dentist. If you experience any challenges using the remedies listed below, make sure you get medical attention. For each of the remedies provided below, make sure that you clean your hands well to prevent introducing an infection to the affected site.
1. Clove Oil:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Clove oil, cotton wool, and warm water for mouth rinse.
Clove oil is one of the most popular home remedies for conditions that affect your oral health. The herb not only has excellent analgesic properties that help you deal with the pain, the cloves also physically protect the bone and cover the nerve endings. This is key because it helps prevent the interaction between the nerve endings and the food or air. This effectively manages the pain. Cloves are also an excellent way to get rid of mouth odor, making them an ideal remedy for the treatment of dry socket.
- Cut a small piece of the cotton and soak in the clove oil.
- Put the wet cotton on the socket for a minute.
- Remove the cotton and discard. Do not re-use the wet cotton to avoid the risk of infections.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water well. Use this remedy as often as you would love to, particularly when the pain is intense.
2. Saline Water For Mouth Rinse:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Teaspoon of table salt and 1 glass of warm water.
The idea behind using saline water for a mouth rinse is to help keep infections at bay. Salt is an excellent antiseptic. When mixed with water to get a saline solution, the salt water rinse prevents the dry socket from getting an infection. In addition to this, the warmth of the water used goes a long way in soothing the pain and reducing the swelling. Using the salt water rinse twice daily goes a long way in helping prevent the formation of dry sockets.
- Dissolve the salt in the warm water and stir to dissolve.
- Once dissolved, use the solution thrice daily to rinse your mouth, making sure that you focus on the site of the tooth extraction.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1/2 glass of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup of warm water, and cotton wool.
Raw Apple cider vinegar has long been used as a home remedy for a wide array of conditions, including a dry socket. The main characteristics of the solution include its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which help manage the pain and prevent infections respectively. For dilution purposes and to prevent the irritation of the oral cavity membranes, you will need to add warm water.
Warm water is preferred to cold water because it is gentle on the dry socket and provides relief from the symptoms of the condition. There are two ways you may use Apple cider vinegar: first by diluting and using as mouth rinse or by soaking a cotton ball in the resulting solution. Follow the directions below to find what works best for you.
- Mix the water and apple cider vinegar in the ratio of 1:1.
- Use the solution to rinse your mouth thrice daily.
- Alternatively, soak a piece of cotton wool in the solution and put it at the dry socket area.
- Chew on it for 10 minutes to allow the healing action of the Apple cider vinegar. You will then discard the used cotton wool the next time to use the remedy. Use this remedy thrice daily for quick recovery.
4. Tea Tree Oil:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 3 Drops of essential tea tree oil, cotton wool, and warm water to rinse.
Tea tree oil is an ideal antiseptic for the natural treatment of dry sockets. It works by preventing infections from setting in while speeding the process of recovery. In fact, different studies on the efficiency of the oil have shown great results in its use as adjunct treatment. You have to be careful when using this remedy as the ingestion of the oil can easily cause poisoning since tea tree oil is toxic when ingested. For this, you will need cotton wool and warm water.
- Soak the cotton wool in some warm wager. This is done to moisten it and make it more effective in the application of tea tree oil.
- Place 3 drops of the essential oil on the wet cotton wool and proceed to carefully put it at the site where the dry socket has formed.
- Hold the wet cotton in place for 5-10 minutes.
- Discard the used cotton wool and proceed to rinse your mouth using warm water.
- Repeat this procedure twice daily or as and when needed until the dry socket is completely healed.
5. Cold Compress:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Thin towel, cold water, and a few ice cubes.
Cold compresses are a popular option when it comes to conditions that cause excruciating pain. As such, the use of a cold compress has long been known to have properties that soothe the affected jaw and help manage the pain in cases of a dry socket. Additionally, the extremely low temperatures help numb the jaw, making it easy to deal with the inflammation. Ice cubes are added to the remedy for this purpose.
- Soak the thin towel in the cold water.
- Add ice cubes to the water in order to lower the temperatures and make the remedy more effective.
- Squeeze the excess water from the towel and then proceed to place the wet towel on the die of the face from where pain radiates.
- Hold the wet towel in place for 15 minutes. Once it loses its coldness and starts to become warm, repeat the procedure above.
- Do not be tempted to use the ice cubes directly on the gums as this could easily cause damage to the gum area and interfere with the healing process.
- Use the cold compress at least four times daily to reduce the pain of a dry socket.
NOTE: This remedy is recommended for use within the first few days after tooth extraction and thereafter you can switch to the use of a warm compress as indicated below.
6. Warm Compress:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Thin towel and hot water.
Having mentioned the advantages of using a cold compress above, it is rather puzzling that a warm compress would also appear on the list of home remedies for the management of a dry socket. The warmth of the water helps relieve you of the radiating pain, and also works by reducing the swelling on the skin.
The main difference between using this remedy and a cold water compress arises from their mode of action. A cold compress restricts the flow of blood to the dry socket, and this curtails the pain pathway. The cold compress is best used in the first few days after the formation of the dry socket. A warm compress on the other hand soothes the pain and is recommended for use about 3 days after the dry socket forms. Follow the procedure below to make the best use of the warm compress.
- Soak the thin towel in the hot water.
- Squeeze the excess water from the towel, taking care not to burn yourself with the hot water.
- Place the wet towel on the die of the face from where pain radiates.
- Hold the warm towel in place for 15 minutes. When cooled, repeat steps 1-3 once more.
- Use the warm compress at least four times daily to reduce the pain of a dry socket.
7. Black Teabag:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Teabag, 1 cup of hot water, ice cubes, and warm water to rinse the mouth.
A black teabag is recommended for the home management of a dry socket, largely due to the presence of tannins in the tea. These tannins are known to have excellent antibiotic properties that help prevent infections from setting in. When refrigerated or cooled using ice cubes, the teabag is then used to reduce the pain and minimize the swelling that accompanies a dry socket. for hygiene purposes, use each teabag once.
- Place the teabag in a cup and pour in the hot water.
- Let the teabag steep for 5 minutes and then remove from the cup and squeeze the water.
- Place the teabag in the refrigerator or on ice cubes for at least 20 minutes to allow sufficient cooling.
- Bite on the teabag well, making sure to hold it in place at the site of the dry socket. Do this for 10 minutes and then discard the teabag.
- Lastly, rinse your mouth using warm water. Use this remedy as often as is required.
In addition to the remedies mentioned above, there are also changes that you can make to help the dry socket heal faster. The time taken for each of the tips provided below varies from one person to another, but the most important thing is to find what works best for you.
- Make sure you eat soft foods in the days after the tooth extraction to prevent unnecessary trauma to the affected jaw.
- In the same breath, steer clear of foods that have a tendency to leave resides in the mouth.
- Ensure that you drink adequate amounts of water too. Dehydration slows down the healing process.
- Whenever possible, chew using the other side of the mouth in a bid to reduce the pain at the site of the dry socket.
- For women, it is important to consult your doctor if you are using family planning pills as this is one of the risk factors associated with a dry socket.
As a general guide, make sure you schedule yearly dental appointments in order to monitor your oral health as well as help make sure that in the event of tooth extraction, your healing progress is followed carefully. Knowing what home remedies are available also makes it less likely to suffer from the condition.