What is dry socket? I get that question a lot. Dry socket is no fun, I'll tell you that. It's also pretty common when it comes to extractions, especially lower wisdom teeth.
And everybody's heard about it. Everybody knows a guy that had a bad dry socket experience. It's what scares a lot of people away from having their wisdom teeth taken out or what makes them nervous when they need some sort of extraction done.
Well, dry socket is when the tooth comes out, just like if I cut my arm, and I'm going to have a scab form on my arm. A scab forms where the tooth came from too. But we don't call it a scab in the mouth. We call it a blood clot.
It fills up where the tooth used to be. And it firms up over the course of a day or two. It sits there, and it starts the normal healing process.
What a dry socket is is once that clot's there, it gets dislodged somehow. The most common reason is smoking. Somebody goes home, and they smoke a cigarette, not only is it the toxins in the actual smoke, but it's the suction of pulling on the cigarette. So the same thing can happen if you use a straw. For a few days right after an extraction, we really encourage you do not to use straws. If you go get a milk shake or smoothie or something afterwards, that's great, just eat it with a spoon. That heavy suction when you're pulling on a straw can dislodge that blood clot.
Also if it's in the first 24 hours or so after your surgery, you don't want to do any heavy rinses, heavy spitting, heavy swishing. If you feel gross or something after you've had your wisdom teeth out, that's fine and okay and normal. Just get a wet wash cloth and wipe out your mouth instead of rinsing and spitting for that first day or so.
Let that clot firm up. Just like if you sat there and picked that scab on your arm over and over, it's never going to heal right. When that clot dislodges, if it does, we've got exposed bone in there. And that hurts like crazy. It's no fun. It's really unpleasant. And it lasts for about two weeks.
And there's not a lot of treatment to be done for it. Yes, you come in, and we can put a medicine down in there. And we can give you painkillers and things like that. We can numb you up. But who wants to come back to have us poke around in the thing that really hurts? No one wants to get another injection. We really prefer not to give you a bunch of painkillers on top of the ones you're already taking.
We can avoid these things if you follow our instructions. But there's also a couple really helpful things that we do here. We try to go above and beyond on your average extraction here. I try my best to give everyone a very easy extraction experience, and a dry socket is not an easy experience.
So one of the things we do is we place what's called platelet-rich fibrin. Make sure you watch my PRF video where I go into more detail about that. But it's a preformed blood clot formed from your own blood that's very easy. And it basically jumpstarts the whole healing process. And it really, really lowers your chance of having a dry socket. So it's very, very helpful. And we find that folks have a really good experience when we do that. And we do that routinely here.
The other thing that we can do is if it's a tooth that we're planning on putting back, so it's not a wisdom tooth, but it's, say, a molar over here that we want to put back, a lot of times, what we'll do is we'll do a socket or site preservation bone graph, meaning the tooth comes out. We fill that right away with bone to give us a really good chance that an implant shortly thereafter. And what that does is that has now filled up that socket, so you can't get a dry socket. We've already covered it and protected it so we can keep you from having that experience.
So that's a little background on dry socket. We have a really good track record with all those little tips and tricks that I just gave you of not really experiencing many of those around here. So don't sweat it. Come talk to me. And I can put you at ease because that's something that we're pretty much getting rid of.