Infection following a tooth extraction is possible. Similar to infections occurring in the other parts of the body, oral infection occurring following an extraction surgery can be fatal if not properly treated. Therefore, it is beneficial to be able to observe possible symptoms of post-operative tooth extraction infection as this will give a chance to immediately provide proper treatments for the affected site.
How is tooth extraction infection possible?
When a tooth is extracted, the bone surrounding the empty socket may undergo inflammation, especially when there is no sufficient blood clot existing. Therefore, it is important to take care of a pulled tooth socket, as losing blood clot from the area may lead to more serious post-operative complications, including infection. Infection is possible to occur within a pulled tooth socket that does not have sufficient blood clot because:
- Without a blood clot, the walls of the socket are basically exposed bone, which can easily be aggravated.
- Without a blood clot, an empty socket will trap bits of excess food and surely, bacteria.
As beneath the gum, bacteria can grow very well due to limited oxygen level—these bacteria are anaerobic—the empty socket can be a harbor for these infesting bacteria, leading to higher risk of infection. Post-operative tooth extraction infection is mostly caused by a bacterial infestation that may exist either before the tooth was pulled or after the performed procedure.
In addition to this bacterial infestation, tooth extraction infection may also trigger by a couple of risk factors, such as smoking within one day after tooth extraction, rinsing out too soon within 24 hours after the extraction, and a difficult extraction procedure which takes a long time.
How to know if there is infection after tooth extraction
Gum or socket infection occurring after tooth extraction procedures are triggered by what-so-called as dry socket. This refers to an empty socket in the gum that is left behind when you have had a tooth pulled out. This socket is empty because there is no blood clot existing in there any longer. The absence of blood clot inside this treated socket make it easier for the bones surrounding the socket to be inflamed.
Some symptoms and signs of dry socket are often assumed as tooth extraction infection, while in fact, these two things are slightly different. These symptoms show that you possibly have a dry socket:
- You have excruciating pain that develops 3 to 5 days after the extraction surgery. This pain occurs after you have had a tooth removed within the last 5 days. It is rare that pain due to tooth extraction infection occurs immediately after the procedure is performed.
- The pain affects the jaw wherein you have a tooth extracted. Although severe pain sensation occurs, this commonly is not accompanied by swelling and inflammation of either the jaws of cheeks. This is possible as the bones surrounding the empty sockets are actually the ones that are aggravated due to the dry socket condition.
- The foul-smelling odor may present on the affected tooth socket. Moreover, pus drainage may present and triggers a bad taste in your mouth. This may be caused by trapped excess foods inside the empty socket.
In comparison, these symptoms indicate tooth extraction infection:
- The painful sensation that occurs within one or two days after the performed surgery. This pain may present inside the empty socket or on the teeth around the pulled one.
- There is visible redness on the treated gum.
- Inflammation and swelling of the gum and cheeks present and are really visible.
- Difficulty swelling and chewing caused by inflamed cheeks, gum, or tooth socket.
What can be done?
The pain caused by inflamed bones surrounding a pulled tooth socket can be excruciating. However, although dry socket that loses blood clot in it may trigger this infection, this dry socket itself is rather of a condition than an infection. If you are suffering from dry socket after a pulled tooth extraction, medications containing ibuprofen can help relieve the caused pain. Quite differently, true tooth infection can be relieved using antibiotics that help kill any infesting bacteria triggering infection.
When to see a doctor?
Whether it is a dry socket or a true infection, immediate treatments help improve the condition. Whenever the main causal risk factors—dry socket or bacterial infestation—have been properly handled, the infection can be managed properly. However, some infection may be more severe that it causes severe difficulty swelling and opening the mouth, foul taste in mouth as a result of excessive us drainage, and inflammation due to excessive bacterial overgrowth. If you spot these symptoms, it is very crucial to see the doctor immediately, as infection of the tooth socket may spread to other mouth area, causing even more severe complications.