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Garga

Dry socket—how to treat OTC? s/o

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Ok, so I’ve posted about how my son needs his wisdom teeth extracted (here).  I’ve read reviews of oral surgeons online and asked the locals for recommendations and have picked an oral surgeon and have a consult appointment in August.

My next concern:  dry sockets.  I’ve had a few people talk about the excruciating pain of them (not whiners, either).  They said that they went back to the oral surgeon and the oral surgeon puts something or other on them and it relieves the pain, but until then, they’re in a huge amount of pain.  And I’ve heard that ibuprofen doesn’t touch it.

So, let’s say my son does get a dry socket and it starts hurting after the office is closed.  And I call the after hours and they say, “Ok, we’ll see him first thing tomorrow morning,” but he’s experiencing excruciating pain and will have to wait overnight until he can be seen.

What is effective for pain relief for a dry socket overnight before he can see the oral surgeon?  I’d like to have something effective on hand just in case.  I don’t want for him to tell me at 11 at night, “Help!  I’m in pain!” And I have nothing on hand to help and it’s late at night and he’s crying and we have to wait another 10 hours until we can get to the surgeon (or heaven forbid, it’s over the weekend—-do they come in on weekends to help the people with dry sockets or make them wait for days? Surely, they don’t make them wait! ??)

I’ve looked online and see things like: raw honey, black tea bags, cloves, etc.  What really works?  Sometimes online suggestions sound good, but are super lame.  Does anyone know what treatment really helps?  And what is just lame?

 

Edited by Garga

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Dry socket generally doesn't start until a day or two later.  And I highly recommend not mistaking complaints of typical pain for dry socket pain.  A dry socket is when the blood clot dislodges.  The bone will likely be exposed.  When I got a dry socket a couple years ago, I could actually see the bone when I looked in the mirror.  I went in, they packed it with something soaked in clove oil, and whatever it was came out just a few hours later.  I was not going back again, I had no babysitter again and didn't want to pay for another dental visit to have it packed again, and have it come out again, etc etc.  And they were NOT perscribing more meds.

So the best thing I could do was just make sure to keep food and stuff out of it for the next week.  For me this meant using a kids/baby dosing syringe to squirt water in the socket every time the pain flaired, and then just deal with the dull ache in between.  

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We were told to call about dry socket. We didn't realize it until Thursday (teeth removed Monday) that the pain had to be out of the normal and called in. They took us in immediately and told us to call if there were any more complications. I know our orthodontist assistant came in early on a Saturday morning when one child broke a bracket/wire. The oral surgeon people acted like they would as well. 

They did pack that socket with something like cotton batting and close oil. The pain relief was pretty much instantaneous. There was no extra charge for this visit. The pain from that point was the same as the soreness from the other holes. It was tolerable (and this is my pain sensitive kid). 

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I suppose the most important is to prevent the clots from dislodging. DD had 4 teeth extracted last summer, and the dentist was clear about NOT sucking through a straw, no swishing fluids, etc. 

(Same DD has her consultation for wisdom teeth removal July 16. She'll probably have them out soon after.)

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Ask the oral surgeon what to do if this happens. He might be willing to write a small scrip just in case this occurs, or he might have a different procedure, but he should have something helpful to tell you. Because yeah, the pain is excruciating, and I for one want the drugs. And you can get dry socket even when you follow all directions. 

My dentist once went to a Walgreens to write up a pain prescription for me when he was driving to his vacation. I love him a lot. 

 

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I had dry socket in all 4.  I didn't think it was as bad as a migraine, at least not while taking the vicodin.  The oral surgeon told me they were all 4 dry at the follow up appointment If you can see bone, call immediately, they will likely come in even if they're on a boat.  I got a couple more weeks of vicodin and as a result needed to be off work.

You can also have clove oil on hand, though I wouldn't try stuffing the holes with cotton the way the surgeon will.  Walgreens carries it. It's part of a temporary filling kit if you have a toothache. I always throw that gummy crap out and use the oil if I have a toothache.  I've also used it (mixed with baking soda) as part of the ingredients for homemade toothpaste.

 

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My daughter got her wisdom teeth out recently.  We were told what to watch out for on pain and what to do.  She was given a short prescription for narcotic pain relief, like three pills, and the after hours phone number.  If the pain started during business hours we were to call in and then come in.  They would deal with it at the time.  If it started after hours but not the middle of the night, call in and then come in.  Someone would meet us and deal with it.  If it was the middle of the night, take one of the super pain meds and call the after hours number and someone would meet us before the office opened.

They dealt with it as an emergency and deal with it immediately. Except in the middle of the night and even then we had a back up plan.  

We didn’t have any issues.  She followed the instructions to the letter and everything went smoothly.

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1 hour ago, JenneinCA said:

My daughter got her wisdom teeth out recently.  We were told what to watch out for on pain and what to do.  She was given a short prescription for narcotic pain relief, like three pills, and the after hours phone number.  If the pain started during business hours we were to call in and then come in.  They would deal with it at the time.  If it started after hours but not the middle of the night, call in and then come in.  Someone would meet us and deal with it.  If it was the middle of the night, take one of the super pain meds and call the after hours number and someone would meet us before the office opened.

They dealt with it as an emergency and deal with it immediately. Except in the middle of the night and even then we had a back up plan.  

We didn’t have any issues.  She followed the instructions to the letter and everything went smoothly.

Wow!  I think I’m going to call the oral surgeon’s office tomorrow and ask them if they do something like this.  If I was an oral surgeon, this is exactly the way I’d handle it, and as a patient, this is what I expect.  I don’t even think I’ll wait for the consult to find out what they do.  Because maybe I’ll change the appointment to a different oral surgeon who handles it this way if the one I’ve contacted already doesn’t.  THIS is what I want.

Edited by Garga

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1 hour ago, JenneinCA said:

 They dealt with it as an emergency and deal with it immediately. Except in the middle of the night and even then we had a back up plan.  

This is what you want to hear when you talk to the oral surgeon. If it's not what you hear, I'd keep looking. 

Edited to add that I posted at the exact same time as Garga's response, lol. 

Edited by katilac
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I would highly recommend the guy who did mine; I can't recall if we talked about that or not. They gave DH the script for heavy duty painkillers while they were doing the surgery so that he could go get it filled, and be back to get me. I was scared of dry socket, so I followed their directions very carefully, and all was fine. I got the impression that I could call anytime if I was in pain that the heavy meds weren't helping. 

 

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I would ask for a prescription for pain meds ahead of time, even just a few pills to get through the night if needed before you can see someone.

I love my current dentist and I was very upfront with him that I'm not wiling to do anything more invasive than a filling without pain meds. I literally have PTSD from a couple of root canals that each left me in searing pain for more than a week, and unfortunately even strong meds are not that effective on me; they only dull the pain, not relieve it. So I don't do extractions, root canals, or implants without a prescription I can fill ahead of time. I don't like taking them, they make me really nauseous (especially in combo with antibiotics — ugh!), but I can handle nausea better than excruciating pain.

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I heard about clove oil too.

My dd had dry socket.  It didn't all of a sudden jump from okay to extremely painful.  It was already painful from having her wisdom teeth removed, which she had meds for already (I can't remember if it was prescription pain pills or not?), but the pain just didn't get better.  Or, maybe it got a little better but then got a little worse again.  It wasn't so horrible that she felt she needed to go to the ER or couldn't wait until morning.  It was mostly that the pain was still there and not going away.  So, we just continued to treat it as we did when the teeth were first removed, and then saw the oral surgeon the next day.  

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That's awful for anyone who has had to deal with dry socket. We didn't have any problems like that with any of ours, 5 kids so far. Some had them removed all at once, some went back months later for round two. 

Garga, I want you to know that I was always a little bit of a mess leading up to the kids having this done, but it was always okay. We didn't do it as matter of routine "time to pull the wisdom teeth," it was really necessary from problems they were each having with either recurring pain, sideways or tilted incoming teeth, etc. The next kid has been having pain, not too bad, off and on for 2 years and I keep forgetting to get her to the oral surgeon for a consult. It's kind of strange...she has a small mouth but is the only one who has been told the wisdom teeth were coming in straight. 

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I have had all 4 wisdom teeth removed  the top ones in my early 20s and the bottom ones in my early 30s. I had no problems with the top teeth. I got dry socket in one of the bottom ones - it was a bad remove, the dentist  had to cut a part of my jaw to get the tooth out. half way thought the tooth removal the dentist started to think he wouldn't be able to remove the tooth. he suggested I may need to drive 250km to a hospital that had a dental surgeon to have the tooth surgically removed under a general ( I live remote, the dentist was visiting my area). I said keep pulling so he got the dental assistant to hold my head  while he pulled it out.  

the stitches came out that evening and the gum shrank so they could not stitch it back up. The pain was bad. I was given some very strong pain medication - so strong that the walls were moving - sort of wobbling etc. I only took 3 tablets because I started to get a very strong urge to take lots  and I thought it was not a good thing.  After that I just didn't eat for a week as when food hit that dry socket it was unbearable. I think I swished  salty water in my mouth  a few times a day to help with the healing and reduce chances of infection. After a week it didn't hurt anymore though I had to be careful about food getting stuck in the hole for a little while.

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Both of my kids have had wisdom teeth removed in the last few years. They were both given prescriptions for narcotic pain med as part of the process. There was enough prescribed so that they could have made it through a several days I’d needed.

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