Alveolar ostesis is an infection in the tooth socket after a tooth is extracted. It occurs 3-5 days after tooth extraction and causes severe throbbing and radiating pain. It is characterized by detritus, grayish slough, severe pin and bad odor- which is as a result of the disintegration of the blood clot by putrefaction rather than by orderly reabsorption.
This condition results from disturbances in the healing process and its commonly referred to as dry socket. The disturbance is from the time a blood clot forms after tooth extraction to the initiation of healing. The healing tissue is supposed to replace the blood clot, known as granulation tissue, which may fail to grow leaving the alveolar bone unprotected and exposed to the oral environment. The condition is completely unpleasant for the patients. Nerves are exposed and sometimes the bone is visible in the empty socket. It is often accompanied by what feels like an ear ache.
Women are usually at higher risk of developing a dry socket than men. Of the women that have developed it, the majority take an oral contraceptive. Smokers have also been shown to have a greatly increased risk of developing alveolar ostesis after tooth extraction. This is due to the decreased amount of oxygen available in the healing tissues s a result of carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke. It is recommended that smoking should be avoided for at least 48 hours after the tooth extraction to reduce the risks of a dry socket.
Treatment of a dry socket is usually preventive. It includes, taking into account good oral hygiene before and during the healing period. It is advisable to take all regular medications for systemic illnesses such s diabetics and cardiovascular diseases. Women are recommended to have extractions during the last five days of their menstrual cycle so as to minimize the chances of developing a dry socket because the estrogen levels are lower during the part of the cycle.
Several factors cause the premature loss of blood clot from the site of the extraction they are: smoking, forceful spitting, sucking through a straw coughing or sneezing. Carbonated or alcoholic beverages should be avoided after an extraction. Fingers and the tongue should be kept away from the site, an ice pack should be applied 24 hours following surgery to prevent swelling and excess bleeding.