What to Do During an Oral Health Emergency

Do I need to see a dentist now? Can I wait until morning? The stress of an oral health emergency is often worsened by a lack of information about the best course of treatment. Treating most common dental emergencies starts with a trip to the dentist or oral surgeon. Call Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX at 512-327-7233. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained and experienced in treating oral health emergencies and traumas.

Common Oral Emergencies and What to Do About Them

Oral health emergencies can occur at any time, day or night. Some are caused by trauma or injury. Others arise from complications from existing dental work or oral health conditions. Infection, pain, or damaged teeth are all signs of a potential dental emergency.

Treatment options and urgency vary, depending on the type of emergency. If you’re not sure, get in touch and we’ll help you determine if urgent treatment is needed or if you can safely wait for a few days or hours.

  • Soft Tissue Injuries- Soft tissue injuries include cuts and lacerations to the face and mouth. These are repaired by suturing. Our trained oral surgeons carefully suture soft tissue injuries to minimize the cosmetic impact of the injury. We also carefully examine the area to ensure that facial nerves, salivary glands/ducts, and other essential structures are not damaged.
  • Facial Fractures- Bone injuries to the face and jaw are treated similarly to bone injuries elsewhere on the body. The area is typically stabilized, allowing the bone to heal. We use different methods to accomplish stabilization including jaw immobilization, surgical plates, screws, etc. We always strive to maintain appearance as much as possible and minimize incisions and scars.
  • Knocked Out Teeth- A dislodged or avulsed (knocked out) tooth is a serious dental emergency. Prompt care is essential for the best treatment results. The sooner the tooth is reimplanted, the more likely it is to survive. If the tooth is knocked out, do not attempt the clean or rinse the tooth. Pick it up from the crown, not the root, place it in salt water or milk, and contact us immediately. If the tooth can’t be saved, dental implants can restore appearance and function to the area.
  • Chipped or Broken Teeth- See your dentist as soon as possible. We have many options for treating chipped or broken teeth. The best treatment depends on the type and extent of the damage.
  • Toothache- See your dentist as soon as possible. Treatment for a toothache is dependent on causes of the ache. In extreme cases, an extraction may be needed.
  • Lost or Damaged Dental Work- Lost or damaged fillings, bridges, and orthodontic braces require prompt dental treatment.
  • Infection- Oral infections can progress quickly and may cause damage to the teeth and soft tissues. In some cases, oral infections can spread to other parts of the body, creating a serious medical emergency. Contact your dentist as soon as possible.

We try to see emergency patients same-day whenever possible. Call us and we’ll get you in as soon as we can.

Preventing Oral Emergencies

A little prevention can dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of many oral injuries. Protect your beautiful smile!

  • See Your Dentist Regularly- Dental cleanings and exams can prevent tooth decay and infection. Ask your dentist about recommended frequencies for these important preventative visits.
  • Address Dental Problems- As dental problems occur, treat them. Infections and decay can spread, creating serious emergencies later.
  • Protect Your Mouth- Sports injuries are a common cause of oral health emergencies. Use appropriate oral protections, like mouth guards, when participating in activities where injury to the face may occur.

When an oral health emergency strikes, call Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX. Our skilled oral surgeons focus on providing exemplary patient care, during both regular and emergency visits. Our goal is a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile for every patient.


Can Halloween Candy Actually Damage Your Smile?


Ghosts, witches, and goblins, beware. Too many Halloween treats can wreak havoc on your smile. Learn how to enjoy one of fall’s favorite holidays without damaging your pearly whites.

What Does Candy Do to Teeth?

You’ve probably heard your dentist say that sugar is bad for your teeth. In reality, it isn’t the sugar that causes the damage, but the plaque bacteria that feed on sugar in your saliva. Your mouth is home to many different types of bacteria, some good and some bad. Sugar is food for harmful bacteria that create acid and damage tooth enamel. This leads to small holes in the enamel, called cavities.

Cavities start small, but they can grow quickly. Without proper attention, other dental problems can develop including bone and gum loss, extensive decay, and potentially the need for tooth extraction and dental implants. Prevention and early treatment are key to avoiding major dental problems later. A little candy can do a lot of damage if you’re aren’t careful.

Worst Halloween Treats for Your Teeth

When it comes to tooth damage, all treats are not created equally. Some types of candy are worse for teeth than others. As you choose Halloween candies, focus on less damaging options when you can. Some of the most tooth-damaging candies and Halloween treats include:

  • Sticky, Chewy, Gummy Candies- Caramels, taffy, and gummy candies stick to the teeth and between them. This increases the risk of tooth decay because the sugars stick around longer and aren’t as easily washed away by saliva.
  • Sour Candies- Sour candies are highly acidic. This acid can break down tooth enamel. Sour treats damage enamel in multiple ways: from the sugar in the treats and from the acids.

If you’re going to eat candy, non-sticky and non-sour treats are less damaging to the teeth.

Minimizing Tooth Enamel Damage While Enjoying Halloween Treats

Sugar causes dental problems, but you can minimize the damage with a few simple strategies. Protect your teeth this Halloween by:

  • Drinking Lots of Water- Water can help minimize the effects of sugar on the teeth. Hydrate more if you’re eating lots of sweets. Rinsing the mouth out with water after eating candy can reduce the amount of sugar that remains in the mouth.
  • Saving Candy for Mealtimes- Saliva production increases at mealtimes. Eating candy with a meal can reduce damage to the teeth.
  • Don’t Snack- Avoid snacking on candy throughout the day.
  • Brush After Eating- Brushing your teeth after a treat can remove enamel destroying bacteria from the mouth. If you’re enjoying acidic candies or beverages, wait 30 minutes before brushing since your enamel may be temporarily weakened from the acids.
  • Floss- Candy and sugar can get between the teeth, where saliva can’t wash it away. Flossing helps to remove sugar and bacteria from between the teeth. Flossing daily is recommended, and especially if you’re eating candy.
  • Visit Your Dentist Regularly- Whether you’re eating candy or not, regular dental visits are always an important part of maintaining good dental health. Your dentist can spot and treat problems early before they develop into a more extensive problem.

Halloween means candy, but it doesn’t have to mean tooth decay. Follow these tips to protect your teeth from damage.


Benefits of a Boutique Dental Practice

Are you tired of feeling like a number, not a person, when you go to the dentist? Do you want better care, personalized attention, and the latest treatment technologies in dental care? Consider a boutique dental practice. These personalized practices approach dentistry differently than a traditional practice and provide patients with many unique benefits.

Hill Country Oral Surgery is proud to be a boutique oral surgery practice located in Austin, TX. Call us at 512-327-7233 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our available dental and oral surgery services.

What Are the Benefits of a Boutique Dental Practice?

A boutique dental practice is a smaller, patient-oriented practice. Like a big box department store differs from a small independent shop, corporate and boutique dental practices differ, sometimes substantially. Both have benefits, but only a boutique practice can offer the personalized care that our patients desire.

Being a boutique practice allows us to offer patients a different kind of dental experience including benefits like:

  • Extensive Training– Our surgeons, Cavaretta and Dr. Rasmussen, are trained and experienced oral surgeons. We are dedicated to learning and are constantly striving to learn new skills and gain additional knowledge. Large, corporate practices often use inexperienced or minimally trained dentists.
  • Many Available Treatments– We offer a variety of oral surgery services including wisdom tooth extraction, impacted canine treatment, apicoectomies, jaw surgery, and dental implants.
  • Individualized Treatment– Each of our patients brings both their dental needs and their life experiences to our practice. Some patients find dental treatment scary and intimidating. Other patients may have medical needs that impact their care. Our patients vary in their budgets, insurance coverage, treatment priorities, and anatomy. We work with each patient to create an individualized care plan. We want to find solutions that work for you and that you’re comfortable with.
  • Consistency of Care– At Hill Country Oral Surgery, each patient develops a relationship with their surgeon and with the members of our staff. Our two surgeons are members of the Austin community. You won’t meet with a nameless, faceless, ever-changing surgeon here. You’ll know your oral surgeon and will receive consistent quality care with each visit.
  • State-of-the-Art Facility– Our facility is beautifully outfitted with the latest technologies in oral and maxillofacial surgery. We use 3D x-ray analysis, guided implant surgery, and 3D printing to provide our patients with the best available care.
  • Time– We take the time to listen to your questions, concerns, and thoughts. We want our patients to feel comfortable and give each patient our undivided time and attention. Building trust takes time.

Discover these benefits and more at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

How Do I Find a Boutique Dental Practice?

Finding a boutique dentist or oral surgeon can be challenging. Take your time, do your research, and keep looking if you’re unhappy with the quality of care you receive. Recommendations are a valuable way to find patient-focused dentists. We are grateful to our many wonderful patients for sharing our practice with friends and loved ones.

Boutique dental practices put the patient back into dentistry. We are excited to offer our patients some of the best care, training, and experience available in oral surgery. Call us to schedule a consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX.




All-on-4 vs. Dentures

All-on-4 is a surgical procedure where dental implants are placed to support an entire arch of teeth, and a permanent, non-removable restoration is fixed to the implants. Full dentures are removable teeth that are secured with dental paste. Read our infographic below to learn about the differences between the two options.

If you’re interested in all-on-4 or dentures, contact us today.

Reasons for Pre-Prosthetic Surgery

You may have heard that dentures don’t fit well or that they are uncomfortable. This may have been true in the past, but a modern, properly fitted denture can dramatically increase quality of life for a patient. To ensure the best fit and comfort, we may recommend pre-prosthetic surgery in advance of denture placement. This prepares the mouth for a dental prothesis.

Getting Your Mouth Ready for Dentures

Dentures sit on the bone ridge of the jaw. Any irregularities in the bone can interfere with the fit and comfort of a denture. Pre-prosthetic surgery helps to prepare the mouth for dentures. It may include one or more of the following procedures:

  • Bone smoothing
  • Bone reshaping
  • Ridge reduction
  • Removal or excess gum tissue
  • Extractions
  • Exposure of impacted teeth
  • Bone removal

Before recommending pre-prosthetic surgery, we carefully examine the mouth and pinpoint those areas that may require additional treatment. Just like a foundation supports a home for decades, your jawbone will support your dentures. A strong, properly prepared support means a better fit and increased comfort for the life of your dentures. This isn’t a step you want to skip.

Reasons for Pre-Prosthetic Surgery

Why is preparation surgery needed before dentures? There are many reasons for the surgery, but a common one is tooth extraction. Many patients require tooth removal before getting dentures. An extraction can leave the jawbone sharp and uneven. This can cause comfort and fit problems with the dentures if it isn’t properly addressed. Pre-prosthetic surgery can smooth things out and prepare the area for dentures.

Do I Need Pre-Prosthetic Surgery Before Dentures?

Not all patients will require pre-prosthetic surgery. To determine if you’ll need the procedure, come in for a consultation. After an exam, and possibly imaging, we’ll know if you’ll need surgery. Most of the procedures required are minor, and recovery is usually pretty minimal. We’ll tell you what to expect during your consultation, after we have a better idea of which procedures you’ll require.

Alternatives to Dentures- Dental Implants in Austin, TX

Dentures aren’t the only way to restore a smile. Many of our patients are opting for dental implants in place of dentures. Implants place a titanium screw into the jaw. This screw supports a crown of one or more teeth. Implants can be used to fill in a single missing tooth or an entire jaw.

Like dentures, implants often require preparation surgery. We may recommend bone or gum grafting to help prepare the mouth for dental implants.

Dental implants function like natural teeth, but they can require extensive surgery to place. Implants may also be more expensive than dentures. We can discuss the pros and cons of each option with you.

A little preparation often means better results. This certainly holds true for dentures and dental implants. Modern dentures are nothing like the ones your grandmother wore. With proper fit and care, you can enjoy a better appearance, increased oral functionality, and a comfortable fit. Come into Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX to learn more about your options for dental restoration.


Accidents Happen: How to Treat Injured Teeth

More than 5 million teeth are knocked out each year due to trauma dislodging the tooth from the socket. Teeth can be chipped, cracked, or displaced. Injuries can also affect the jawbone and gums. Dental injuries happen, and knowing what to do when they occur could be the difference between losing a tooth permanently and keeping it.

In Austin, TX, contact Hill Country Oral Surgery in the event of a dental injury. Our trained oral surgeons are qualified to treat many types of dental and facial trauma including facial lacerations, intraoral lacerations, avulsed (knocked-out) teeth, fractured facial bones, and fractured jaws.

Knocked Out Tooth? Seek Immediate Assistance

When a tooth is displaced or knocked out, the clock starts ticking. The sooner you obtain qualified dental assistance, the more likely you are to keep your tooth. The sooner a tooth is reimplanted, the better chances are for success. If you’ve lost your tooth, immediately start seeking dental care from an oral or maxillofacial surgeon.

Properly caring for the tooth while you wait to see the dentist can improve outcomes.

  • Do not rub or wipe the tooth as remnants of essential ligaments may still be attached to the tooth. These ligament remnants are needed for a successful reimplantation.
  • Hold the tooth only by the crown, not the root.
  • Store the tooth in salt water or milk until you’re able to get to an oral surgeon. Don’t wait; hurry in.
  • Seek immediate assistance from a qualified medical or dental professional and take all teeth and tooth fragments with you.

What Facial and Dental Injuries Can an Oral Surgeon Treat?

Our surgeons are well-trained in all types of facial and dental trauma. They are on-staff at local hospitals and provide emergency room coverage for many injuries. They have extensive training and hands-on experience in the latest methods for addressing these types of trauma. Our surgeons can treat soft tissue injuries, bone injuries, tooth problems, and trauma to other facial structures like the salivary glands.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Cuts and lacerations on the face are repaired with sutures. We strive to minimize scarring and repair using techniques that offer the best cosmetic results. We also carefully inspect the area to ensure surrounding facial structures, including nerves, salivary glands, etc., aren’t damaged. If trauma has affected these structures, we treat and address any problems.

Bone Injuries

Fractures of the jawbone or other facial bones can be treated by an oral surgeon. For some fractures, immobilization is needed. The jaw may need to be wired shut or plates and screws may be used to hold bones into position. When possible, plates and screws are often preferred as they shorten recovery times and allow patients to return to normal activities sooner. Our goal in treating bone injuries is to minimize change to facial appearance and minimize scarring.

Tooth Injuries

As trained oral surgeons, we have a lot experience helping patients with their teeth. We treat chips and fractures, dislodged teeth, and many other tooth concerns. Often, we collaborate with other specialists including endodontists and restorative dentists.

If teeth cannot be saved or repaired, we can place dental implants to restore a patient’s smile.

Dental injuries happen, and when they do, we have the experience, training, and skill to help you treat them. You can reach Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX by calling (512) 327-7233.






Implants or Fixed Bridge? What Is Your Best Option?

Missing teeth? Let’s restore your smile. The two primary options for treating missing teeth are implants and dental bridges. Which option is best for you? Keep reading to learn about your options for tooth replacement. At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we can restore your smile and your confidence.

We’re here to offer personalized advice. Call us to schedule a consultation at our Austin, TX oral surgery practice.

What is a Fixed Bridge?

A dental bridge replaces a missing tooth, or series of missing teeth. It bridges the gap between missing teeth and healthy teeth, using the surrounding teeth as a support. A bridge is made up of two outer crowns that cover the supportive teeth, also called abutment teeth, and one or more false teeth in between. Once in place, a dental bridge functions much like natural teeth, allowing patients to chew and smile with confidence.

Although bridges generally use your natural teeth for support, they can also be used in conjunction with dental implants. Our All-On-4 full arch dental rehabilitation system combines implants with dental bridges to restore both function and beauty to a full arch of missing teeth.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are another replacement option for missing teeth. They consist of a titanium screw, an abutment, and a crown (the part of the implant that looks like a tooth). Implants are implanted into the jaw. Once you’re fully healed, they function much like a natural tooth. Like a bridge, implants also maintain the bone and jaw structure by providing the necessary force to keep the jawbone healthy.  We often perform extractions before placing a dental implant to remove severely damaged or decaying teeth.

Dental implants can replace a single tooth or an entire smile, depending on your needs. Patients with dental implants can eat and chew normally. Implants are also cared for in the same manner as natural teeth. You’ll brush, floss, and visit the dentist for cleanings.

Implants can last for a lifetime if they are properly placed and cared for. They are comfortable, stable, and have no loose parts.

Dental Implants vs. Fixed Bridge: Which Option Is Best for Me?

If you want to restore your smile, start your journey with a consultation at our Austin, TX oral surgery practice. Our trained oral surgeons will help you explore your options to determine if dental implants or a bridge is the best fit to replace your missing teeth.

Each option has benefits. Understanding the unique positive benefits of each treatment can help you choose the right tooth restoration option for you.

The benefits of dental implants include:

  • As easy to clean as a natural tooth
  • Longer lasting than a bridge, often offering lifelong tooth replacement
  • Does not require healthy surrounding teeth for effective replacement

The benefits of a dental bridge include:

  • Lower initial cost
  • Can replace multiple missing teeth
  • No need for gum grafting if bone recession has occurred

Come in for an examination and we’ll talk about your best options for tooth replacement. Call us at 512-327-7233 to schedule an appointment.


The Most Common Causes of Tooth Loss Explained

If you want to keep your natural teeth for a lifetime, it’s important to understand the common causes of tooth loss. This will allow you to take preventive action to ensure your smile stays healthy. Top reasons for tooth loss are outlined below but be sure to contact your dentist if you have any questions or concerns. They can provide personalized advice for your oral health.

If you have lost a tooth, treatment options are available. Come to see us discuss dental implants, All-On-4 restorations, and other options. Your teeth are an integral part of your overall health and should be preserved when possible, but help is available for patients experiencing tooth loss.

Common Causes of Tooth Loss

Tooth loss has many causes, some avoidable and some out of your control. Some of the most common reasons for tooth loss include:

  • Trauma – Trauma can dislodge it from the jaw or damage a tooth beyond repair. If you experience dental trauma, call your dentist right away. Sometimes teeth can be saved with prompt treatment.
  • Tooth Decay and Cavities – A small cavity doesn’t typically doesn’t mean the tooth must be extracted, but when small parts of decay go unchecked, bacteria can spread throughout the tooth, eventually affecting the dental pulp, roots of the tooth, and even underlying bone. This type of infection can be treated with a root canal in some cases, but not always. Severe infections may require tooth removal.
  • Gum Disease – Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is one of the most common causes of tooth loss. Gum disease is preventable with proper dental care and treatable once it develops. Severe periodontitis that compromises bone and causes significant tissue recession frequently creates tooth loss, however. Talk to your dentist about your options.
  • Impaction – Some teeth may be impacted and unable to fully erupt into the mouth. Wisdom teeth are commonly impacted, but canines are also affected. Early recognition of the problem and prompt treatment can mean that these teeth, or others, are extracted to make room in the smile for proper eruption.

The best way to prevent tooth loss is to see your dentist regularly. They can spot problems as they develop before they become serious. Don’t wait to go to the dentist until you have a problem. Remember, dental visits are largely preventive. If you have experienced bone loss as the result of a several dental infection or long missing teeth, our oral surgeon provides grafts and teeth replacement to meet your needs.

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy to Avoid Tooth Loss

Proper dental care and healthy habits can help you to prevent many causes of tooth loss. These tips will help you keep your pearly whites healthy and strong.

  • Don’t Smoke – Patients that smoke is more likely to experience tooth loss.
  • Brush and Floss Daily – Daily brushing is a must for a healthy smile. Brush twice a day and floss once per day; these are the minimums. Your dentist may recommend a different hygiene schedule or the use of certain dental tools, depending on your needs.
  • Visit Your Dentist – Regular dental visits are important. Ask your dentist how often you should come in for routine care, which includes dental X-rays and teeth polishing.
  • Address Dental Problems – As problems arise with your oral health, get treatment as soon as possible. This can minimize the risk of tooth loss and help to preserve the bone.
  • Live a Healthy Lifestyle – Diet and overall health affect the strength of your smile. Many diseases like diabetes or osteoporosis can negatively impact oral health. Likewise, a diet that includes sticky foods that adhere to teeth and foods with added sugar can impact the health of dental enamel and increase chances for decay and gum inflammation.

Hill Country Oral Surgery is proud to provide Austin, TX with tooth extraction, dental implants, and other oral surgery services. Contact us to schedule a consultation.


Jawbone Recession and How to Prevent It

Your jawbone serves as the foundation for your lower face and your smile. Without a strong jawbone, the shape of your face can change, teeth can shift, and other oral health complications can arise. What causes jawbone recession? What can you do to prevent it? Learn more about this common condition below.

At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we’re committed to improving the oral health of our patients in Austin, TX. Contact us at 512-327-7233 to schedule a consultation or to learn more about the oral surgery services we offer.

What Causes Jawbone Recession?

Jawbone deterioration occurs when the bone in the jaw begins to recede, become weaker, or deteriorate. It can happen to the upper jawbone, lower jawbone, or both. There are many reasons why this may occur including:

  • Tooth Extraction- The teeth play an important role in jawbone health. Each time you bite down, your teeth stimulate the jawbone, keeping it strong and healthy. Missing teeth, often from an extraction, leave bone unstimulated and in time, it can begin to degrade.
  • Trauma- Injury or trauma to the jaw can lead to deterioration, especially if teeth are knocked out or shifted in their positioning.
  • Dentures or Dental Bridges- Dentures and dental bridges provide cosmetic replacement for missing teeth, but they do not stimulate the bone. Many patients experience jaw deterioration in the areas under dentures or dental bridges.
  • Misaligned Bite- If your teeth aren’t properly aligned, your bite may not stimulate the jawbone sufficiently to maintain a healthy bone structure.
  • Gum Disease- Periodontal disease, including gingivitis, can destroy the support for your natural teeth by eroding the bone and tooth structure.
  • Disease- Tumors, bacterial infections, osteoporosis, and other diseases can lead to jaw deterioration and tooth loss.

Early action can help to slow and stop jawbone loss. If you’ve had a tooth removed or experience dental trauma, early treatment can save your jawbone’s structure. Proper dental care and early treatment of gum disease can also help to preserve your bone health.

A Strong Healthy Jaw Is Important… Here’s Why

The jaw plays a critical role in dental health and appearance. If you’re at risk for jawbone recession, get treatment now to avoid these common complications.

  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Increase in tongue size
  • Change in facial structure and appearance
  • Inability to support dental implants
  • Changes in fit or comfort to dental restorations
  • Shifting tooth positioning
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty eating and obtaining proper nutrition
  • Sinus expansion

The sooner you seek treatment, the less advanced the bone loss will be. We encourage patients to visit their dentist regularly and to seek out advanced dental care from an oral surgeon as needed.

Treating Jawbone Recession – What Are My Options?

If you have jawbone deterioration, treatment options are available. Learn more about your options below or call our offices for a consultation. During your consultation, we’ll provide personalized treatment advice, customized for your dental needs.

  • Dental Implants- When a tooth is removed, a dental implant can provide the biting forces necessary for dental health. We recommend placing an implant as soon as possible after extraction to minimize the need for bone grafting.
  • Bone Grafting- Bone grafting, using donor or harvested bone, can restore the structure of the jaw. This treatment is ideal for patients with significant bone loss. In many cases, bone grafting can create sufficient bone structure to support a dental implant.
  • Sinus Lift- Missing teeth can cause the sinus cavities to shift. A sinus lift puts things back into position, facilitating a better implant placement.

Regular dental care can also improve your oral and jaw health. Avoid smoking and live a healthy lifestyle. Your mouth is part of your body, and a healthier body means healthier teeth.

Restore and protect your jawbone health at Hill Country Oral Surgery, one of Austin’s top oral surgery practices.



Avoid Dry Sockets with These Tips

Dry socket is one of the most dreaded complications after tooth extraction. It can occur whenever a tooth is removed but is more common after wisdom tooth removal than other types of extractions. The good news is, with a few preventative tips, you can dramatically reduce your risk of this painful condition.

Dry socket is relatively common. Ten to twenty percent of patients develop this complication after a tooth extraction. It is more common in women and smokers. The risk of developing a dry socket shouldn’t keep you from pursuing necessary dental work. Leaving teeth in that need to come out carries its own set of risks. Our highly skilled oral surgeons will help you navigate your tooth removal, helping you to avoid complications for a pleasant recovery experience.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Socket?

When a tooth is removed, it leaves a hole in the bone, called a socket. A blood clot forms in this socket, protecting the bone and nerves underneath during the healing process. Dry socket occurs when this blood clot becomes dislodged too soon. This leaves the bone and nerves exposed. Dry socket is not an infection but does require treatment.

Common symptoms of dry socket include:

  • Pain that starts about two days after tooth extraction.
  • Severe pain, often radiating to the ear.
  • Bad breath.
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth.
  • White or dry appearance at the extraction site.

If you have any of these symptoms after wisdom tooth removal or any other extraction, call your oral surgeon and let them know. Treatment for dry socket can reduce the pain, severity, and duration of the symptoms.

How to Avoid Dry Socket

Taking a few simple steps after tooth extraction can dramatically reduce the risk of dry socket.

  • Good Oral Hygiene- Oral hygiene is always important, but even more so after an extraction when there is an open hole in the mouth. We’ll give you detailed instructions for cleaning your teeth, rinsing the extraction sites, and using oral rinses if needed.
  • Don’t Smoke- Smokers are at a significantly higher risk for dry socket. Avoid smoking for at least three days after your procedure.
  • Do Not Touch the Extraction Sites- Leave the extraction sites undisturbed. Do not touch them or brush them, or the adjacent teeth, with a toothbrush.
  • Do Not Use a Straw- Sucking on a straw can dislodge the blood clot. Do not use a straw for at least three days.
  • Focus on Soft Foods- Soft, easy to eat foods are best after a tooth extraction. Avoid foods that leave particles in the mouth, like rice or nuts.
  • Medications- Some medications can increase your risk of dry socket. Let us know about all medications that you’re taking, both over-the-counter and prescription.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have Dry Socket?

If you notice any signs of dry socket after a tooth extraction, call our offices and let us know. The condition is painful, but also very treatable. Most patients feel better within 1 hour of their treatment.

Dry socket is treated by gently irrigating the area to remove food particles and placing a medicated dressing into the socket. This procedure is repeated after 5-7 days. Most patients will require 2-3 dry socket treatments.

Learn more about wisdom tooth removal in Austin, TX by scheduling a consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery. Call today at 512-327-7233.