If you have one or several teeth removed, then an open tooth socket will be left in the mouth. This socket will heal on its own and fill in with gum tissues. The healing occurs from the jaw upward. This means that you may see a small hole in the mouth where the gums have not had the opportunity to fill in just yet. A large clot will sit in the hole to protect the jawbone as the healing progresses. If the clot is released from opening before the gums cover the bone, then a painful condition called dry socket may develop. There are several things you can do to prevent the condition.
Do Not Eat Hard Foods
Blood clots can take a long time to form in the mouth. Clots are a mass of fluid blood that turns to a gel and then hardens to remain in place. Platelets and fibrin in the blood help to formulate the clot, and these materials help to create a solid formation as the blood dried out. However, a clot in the mouth does not have the opportunity to dry out, so it remains in gel form. This type of clot can release easily from the open tooth socket.
To avoid the movement of the clot, it is best to stay away from hard or sharp foods that can actively pry the clot loose. Things like pretzels, chips, and popcorn should be avoided. You also should stay away from any food that requires a great deal of grinding and chewing like beef, fruit snacks, nuts, raw carrots, and other raw fruits and vegetables.
You should eat soft foods like yogurt, cheese, and soup. These foods should be consumed until you can no longer see a hole in the gums where the tooth was removed.
Do Not Swish
Your dentist may ask you to clean your mouth out with an antibacterial rinse or a salt water solution to help remove and kill bacteria that may infect the open tooth socket. In your effort to thoroughly clean your mouth, you may swish the rinse around with great vigor. This is mistake though, because the movement of the fluid can disrupt the socket clot.
To avoid the shifting or release of the clot, gently place the rinse in your mouth. Instead of using your tongue to move the fluid around, tip your head to the left and then to the right. Move your head forward and backward for several minutes as well. When you are done rinsing, tilt your mouth over the sink and open it up. Do not spit, but let the fluid drain out on its own instead.