What to do if You Face Bone Infection After Tooth Extraction?

Bone infections are a dangerous ailment that commonly occurs after tooth extraction. Bone infections often become the center of sepsis caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. The sepsis can often enter the bloodstream and spread to vital organs of the body. As the sepsis worsens, it can lead to the following symptoms –

  • Difficulty in breathing (1)
  • Dehydration
  • Mental and emotional distress

There is a misconception that a dry socket is a potential bone infection. However, a dry socket is a dental condition that is caused when the blood clot gets dislodged from the extraction socket. It is a painful condition with exposed raw bone. Typically the pain starts after 2-3 days of tooth extraction. Moreover, the patient may also experience earache. Usually, a dry socket is treated with antibiotics and anesthetic dressing, followed by pain management. (2)

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Bone infections are different from dry socket. They are caused by bacterial infection from the surrounding gum line into the exposed bone socket within a few days of tooth extraction. It is best always to get immediate dental consultation to prevent the severity of the condition.

Signs of infection after tooth extraction

Some of the typical signs and symptoms of bone infection post tooth extraction include –

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Bitter taste in the mouth (3)
  • High fever
  • Swelling and tenderness around the gums and jaw
  • Tooth sensitivity on adjacent teeth
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tenderness at the extraction site
  • Radiating pain to the jawline
  • Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth
  • blood or pus discharge from the extraction socket

Potential bone infections after tooth extraction

Some of the possible bone infections post tooth extraction include –

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is a severe bone infection that is usually caused by the bacterial spread. It typically infects the lower jaw of the mouth and occurs post tooth extraction. Patients with osteomyelitis experience high fever, tenderness, and swelling around the extraction site. (4)

The treatment for osteomyelitis usually involves a full course of antibiotics. Moreover, the extraction site is cleaned. Pus is drained out if present and an antibiotic dressing are placed over the extraction site.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw

This is a bone disorder that involves the death of the bone cells at the exposed side of the jaw. The typical symptoms of osteonecrosis include pain and pus discharge. Some of the common causes of osteonecrosis of the jaw include –

  • tooth extraction
  • traumatic injury
  • radiation therapy of head and neck
  • prolonged use of bisphosphonate

treatment of osteonecrosis primarily comprises the removal of the damaged bone. A full course of antibiotics is followed along with antibacterial mouth rinses.

Other potential complications of bone after a tooth extraction include –

  • excessive bleeding from the extraction site(5)
  • dry socket especially among smokers
  • sepsis in the mouth
  • excessive swelling and pain

usually, dentists follow up after toot extraction to check the healing of the extraction site. Moreover, they look for signs of a bone infection or other complications. Therefore, it is essential to always keep up with your dental appointments to ensure proper healing and care.

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Prevention of bone infections post tooth extraction

It is best always to follow the post-operative instructions to prevent bone infections. Some of the tips to avoid the misery of bone infections are –

  • maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly
  • do not rinse your mouth vigorously for the first few days after tooth extraction
  • avoid spicy and acidic food. Switch to a nutritious soft diet
  • use a cold compress if there is any swelling around the jaw or gums
  • pain medications go a long way in providing a comfortable post-operative experience
  • regular dental check-ups are necessary to prevent potential bone complications
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