Monthly Archives: December 2018

wisdom teeth dry socket

Wisdom Teeth Removal & the Risk of Dry Socket

For most people, wisdom teeth removal recovery is smooth and problem-free. However, tooth extraction comes with some risks, and one of the most common is dry socket, or alveolar osteitis.

Dry socket causes aching or throbbing pain in the gums and jaw, and the pain can radiate throughout the head and neck. Typically, the condition appears within three to five days after wisdom teeth removal.

wisdom teeth dry socket

What Causes Dry Socket?

After wisdom tooth removal, a blood clot forms to protect the exposed nerves during the healing process. During a normal recovery, soft tissue and bone grow to cover the clot and seal the gums.

Alveolar osteitis occurs when the blood clot dislodges or dissolves before the tooth extraction site has fully healed. The exact cause has not yet been discovered, but researchers suspect that bacterial contamination or trauma at the surgical site could be involved.

Are You at Risk for Dry Socket?

Anyone can develop alveolar osteitis after wisdom tooth removal, but certain factors increase your risk. You may be more likely to suffer this complication if you:

  • Smoke or use tobacco
  • Take oral contraceptives
  • Have impacted wisdom teeth

A current or pre-extraction infection also boosts the risk of alveolar osteitis, as do poor oral hygiene habits. And some studies have shown that the chance of this wisdom tooth complication may increase with age.

Can You Prevent Dry Socket?

Alveolar osteitis is not entirely preventable, but you can take steps to minimize your risk of developing the complication. To give yourself the best chance at an easy recovery, follow your oral surgeon’s wisdom tooth removal aftercare instructions. The professionals at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery advise patients to:

  • Skip smoking or using tobacco
  • Keep the mouth clean, without vigorously rinsing
  • Refrain from spitting
  • Drink from a cup, not through a straw
  • Avoid strenuous activity for at least a week
  • Stick to a soft-food diet until the gums have healed

Rest assured, if your wisdom teeth removal is scheduled at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we will take every possible step to ensure you have a smooth, complication-free recovery. Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman, the oral surgeons here at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, have extensive experience with third-molar extractions and complete every procedure with expert, compassionate care.

If you live in the greater east central Indiana area and need wisdom teeth removal or are concerned about your risk of dry socket, contact us to schedule a consultation today.

eating after oral surgery

What Can You Eat After Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery?

After oral and maxillofacial surgery, you’ll need to adhere to a liquid and soft-food diet — avoiding anything chewy, hard or crunchy — for at least the first few days. If your procedure is complex, the time may stretch to a few weeks.

So what can you eat and drink when you’re recovering from oral and maxillofacial surgery? Your options are limited, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a wide variety of delicious and nutritious drinks and foods.

eating after oral surgery


During the initial oral surgery recovery period, you won’t be able to chew, so everything you consume must be liquid. This can make filling your stomach a challenge.

Water, tea and milk are healthy beverages for anyone healing from oral surgery, but you have other nutritious options. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons recommend:

  • Fruit smoothies made with protein powder or Greek yogurt
  • Nutritional supplement drinks, such as Boost or Ensure
  • Low-sodium chicken, beef or vegetable broth
  • Thinned oatmeal or cream of wheat cereal

Whichever liquids you choose, don’t drink them through a straw — doing so can disrupt the surgical site and lead to painful complications.


Once your gums have sufficiently healed, you can swap out some liquids for soft snack foods. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons recommend snacking instead of jumping right into a full meal, as eating too much at once can irritate the surgical site.

Some healthy, soft snacks include applesauce, bananas, gelatin and cottage cheese. Also consider:

  • Custard or pudding
  • Chicken or tuna salad on soft bread
  • Mashed potatoes, cauliflower, squash or carrots
  • Vegetable or minestrone soup

Meal Options

When your oral and maxillofacial surgeon gives you the go-ahead to eat more substantial meals, you might have trouble planning a menu. You can always go with greater quantities of the liquids and soft foods mentioned above, but you probably won’t be happy sticking to those options for very long.

For delicious, nutritious and filling meals after oral surgery, try:

  • Pancakes with fruit compote
  • Crustless cheese and spinach quiche
  • Stew with well-cooked veggies and beans
  • Baked fish with rice or risotto
  • Pasta with marinara sauce
  • Meatloaf with macaroni and cheese

If Dr. Partridge or Dr. Alderman at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is performing your procedure, you’ll go home with specific aftercare instructions. Follow all their advice, and you’ll be back to enjoying all your favorite foods in short order.

Our professional team takes every possible step to ensure our patients have a smooth and easy recovery. To schedule a consultation with a compassionate and caring oral surgeon, contact Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today.