how to prevent and avoid dry socket

​A common question that patients ask regarding the recovery from wisdom teeth removal is “what is dry socket and how can I avoid it?”. Most people have heard of dry sockets because they have friends or family members who have suffered from it. Some patients have heard horror stories about dry sockets and are definitely terrified that it will happen to them, and they definitely should be terrified! I have had patients tell me that the pain is a 10 out of 10, so this type of complication is definitely something you want to avoid. 


Typically, smokers and adults are at higher risk for dry sockets. This is one of the reasons why it is advantageous to have your wisdom teeth removed as a teenager. The chances are incredibly slim that a teenager who does not smoke would develop dry socket. I have removed over 10,000 sets of wisdom teeth in my career and I do not recall an instance of a teenager developing dry socket unless they were a smoker.


Tips to avoid Dry Socket

The next piece of advice I would give you to avoid dry socket is do NOT smoke! Dry socket complications are highly related to smoking. So if you are planning to get your wisdom teeth removed, do not smoke or vape for one to two weeks heading into the procedure. The chemicals inhaled from smoking and vaping have a tendency to prevent the blood clot from developing and can really interfere with the healing process. Definitely do not smoke before and after your procedure.

Another very important piece of advice is to avoid sucking through straws and engaging in any type of sucking motion. This type of negative pressure can disrupt the blood clot that develops. When wisdom teeth are removed they are pulled from the jaws and blood immediately starts coming into the socket area and begins to form a blood clot. A sucking motion too soon after the procedure can dislodge the blood clot and exposes the dry bone in that area with the nerves associated. This exposure is what makes dry socket extremely painful. So to reiterate, avoid any sort of sucking motion.

Another piece of advice similarly along those lines is to not spit excessively. Sometimes patients taste blood and keep spitting. This is not helpful to trying to develop a blood clot and can result in dry socket.

A final piece of advice is to follow a soft diet for several days after the procedure. After the procedure, when the blood clot in the area has been established, it is very important to let it heal completely without disrupting it. Following a liquid and soft food diet will help protect the blood clot during the healing process.

In summary, to avoid dry socket: 

  • Do NOT smoke
  • Avoid "sucking" motions (like using straws)
  • Do not spit excessively 
  • Follow a soft food diet for several days post-procedure

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"Went in for a consult, all of the staff was so kind! Ended up getting 2 wisdom teeth extractions the same day. They all took such great care of me and made sure I was comfortable throughout the entire procedure. Dr Choi was very knowledgeable and through in his explination of what I needed and made sure to communicate with me on any fears or questions I threw his way"

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"Best Oral Surgeon I have ever used. Dr. Choi takes his time, is compassionate and an excellent practitioner. His office staff is friendly and knowledgeable. You are never rushed and the entire office has your well being as their top priority. As a retired Physician, I highly recommend Dr. Choi."

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"Very knowledgeable, and very friendly. As someone who doesn't exactly like going to the dentist, I had a great experience here. Highly recommend!"

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"This team is amazing! I'm glad I found them. Another dentist was trying to over charge me and pull teeth that didn't even need to be pulled. I called needing a tooth pulled and they worked to get me in fast. Stacia, Jasmine & Front desk ladies were encouraging and accommodating to my anxiety over being seen by the dentist.They even worked on cost with me. Melissa took very good care of me once I was in the back. If your afraid of the Dentist like me.... you will be ok here💗. I'm grateful for their kindness. Dr Choi explained with confidence the procedure, and was precise with the extraction procedure. I will definitely recommend you visit."

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"Never in my life have I felt so comfortable and cared for going to the dentist. Dr. Choi and his staff were extremely helpful, knowledgeable and everyone has the sweetest personality. I was having a lot of pain in a fractured wisdom tooth and they were able to get me taken care of right away. Dr. Choi’s guidance and instructions almost instantly had me feeling 100 times better until my procedure the next day! I was shocked! Which is another reason why I highly recommend this place. Btw, I never write reviews. I also liked that while waiting for my procedure, there are TVs in the rooms (which are very nice and clean) with detailed instructions on how to care for yourself post procedure. There’s also Netflix. ;) I went to the Plano location off Windhaven and the tollway. Thank you so much Dr. Choi!!! Wow!"

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"I chose to see Dr. Choi for a wisdom tooth I needed removed. They say it's much more painful after 40, but Dr. Choi did an amazing job, and I have to say I experienced virtually no pain. I waited and waited for it to arrive and it never did. Seems crazy, but it's true. Best oral surgeon on the planet in my book!"

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