I recently had a molar removed and was unfortunate enough to develop a dry socket. This is associated with extreme pain for a great length of time. Here I describe what I did to alleviate this pain to the best of my ability, and hopefully it will help other people that my be unfortunate enough to develop this dental condition.
Having recently opted to have a back molar extracted instead of getting a root canal I am now somewhat of an expert on the pain associated with Dry Socket. What is Dry Socket? Dry socket (alveolar osteitis) occurs when the blood clot at the site of the extraction is dislodged, exposing underlying bone and nerves. That’s the clinical definition, in reality it’s a condition FAR more painful than the sore tooth or the extraction process ever was.
About 36 hours after having the molar removed I started developing debilitating pain in my jaw and face. It would radiate throughout the whole side of my jaw where the molar was, down my neck and up to my eye socket and ear. Basically it felt like a root canal without the freezing (trust me – I’ve experienced that first hand too).
Upon returning to the dentist I was informed there was not much to be done other than to grin and bear the pain for up to 6 weeks! The dentist cleansed the socket with saline solution and packed it with some gauze soaked in “dry socket paste” which helped dull the pain almost immediately. Unfortunately it only lasted a few hours and I was back to popping pills.
So, after a week of this let me share what I’ve done to get some relief:
- One Ibuprofen (Advil or generic) and one extra strength Tylenol every 4-5 hours as needed works for me. Unfortunately for the first few days the effect of these pills would wear off after about two and a half hours but I had to wait at least four hours before I could take another dose.
- Take the antibiotics as prescribed by your dentist!
- Avoid hot drink for the first couple of days as it seems to irritate the fresh wound
- Do NOT use a straw as suction in your mouth will dislodge blood clots and irritate the wound
- Apply some clove oil diluted to 50% with vegetable oil directly into the socket with an eyedropper as needed. Be careful with this stuff as it will burn like cayenne pepper on your skin, tongue, lips etc! This doesn’t help too much but it definitely does provide some relief. (You should be able to get this at health food or alternative medicine stores). I *think* this is one of the main ingredients in the dry socket paste the dentist put in.
- Advil PM has been a savior at night. Before finding this I could not sleep through a night because the regular Advil/Tylenol would wear off after a couple of hours.
- Don’t use mouthwashes with alcohol (like Listerine) until your are better since they shrink the gums and kind of hurts! Try a mild salt-water solution for rinsing and rinse every time you eat something. If food gets stuck in the socket it irritates it and causes more pain! (don’t rinse or smoke for the first 24 hours after extraction though, it can dislodge the clots)
I’m not a doctor and don’t want to give anyone any medical advice so I would suggest talking to your dentist/doctor before trying anything!