Canker sore causes and treatments

Canker sores do not directly affect your teeth, but they are a huge part of your oral health and therefore it’s your dentist’s concern. That doesn’t mean you should call your dentist very time you get a canker sore!
You’ve probably had one of these small ulcers. Canker sores can appear almost anywhere inside your mouth—your gums, your tongue, your cheek, and even the roof of your mouth. They will be white or gray and very painful. In bad cases, you may feel like you have a cold. While not contagious the pain can make talking and eating difficult.

What Causes a Canker Sore?

No one really knows the exact cause of these little mouth ulcers. Some are most likely caused by stress or injury to the gum tissue. If you have a more rare complex canker sore, it could be caused by a health condition, like a mineral deficiency. Certain foods, especially those that are very acidic, can also trigger or exacerbate canker sores.

Canker sores usually heal themselves with a few days or weeks. There are doctor related treatments that do help the pain subside, but these are usually only administered in serious cases. For less serious canker sores, there are some at home treatments and remedies that help ease pain, discomfort and possibly speed the healing process.

  • Saltwater Solution and Sodium Bicarbonate – Saline and sodium bicarbonate both help the mouth heal quickly by gently reducing the alkalinity and bacteria in the mouth
  • Hydrogen Peroxide Solution – Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic that will help reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth
  • Over-The-Counter Oral Care Products and Mouth Rinse – Products such as gels, paste, and rinses that are specifically marketed for mouth sores may provide pain relief and help speed the healing process.

When to Tell Your Dentist
If it’s a serious case, or if you consistently deal with canker sores, you should talk to your dentist about your sores. Signs that it’s time to talk to him or her include:

  • More than 3 outbreaks a month
  • Extremely large canker sores
  • Sores that last longer than 3 weeks
  • Difficulty drinking and/or dehydration
  • Pain that will not subside even while avoiding trigger foods and taking pain medications
  • High fever
  • A spreading of the sores

If you have a pesky canker sore that is presenting more serious symptoms give Dr. Chauvins office a call!

Everything You Need to Know About Braces

braces dr chauvin lafayette dentistAt Chauvin Dental, we get lots of questions about braces. If you’re considering braces or want to know if you’re a potential candidate, first remember it’s essential to choose an orthodontist with extensive training and experience. Dr. Chauvin has a reputation in the local community for achieving great results and genuinely caring for patients.

Also remember that braces are an investment that will reward you with a lifetime of great smiles!


Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we get asked and our answers.


Do braces hurt?

There can be some swelling and discomfort when you first get your braces put on and when you get them tightened over subsequent visits. Your teeth and gums may feel sore, but this can be easily managed at home. A few options to manage the discomfort include: rubbing ice on your gums and lightly massaging them, using an oral anesthetic gel, or taking an over-the-counter pain reliever that’s approved by your dentist. If your pain is coming from the braces poking or rubbing against your cheek, we can give you a special wax to help alleviate that discomfort.


How will having braces affect my daily life?

The good news is that having braces will not affect things like sports participation or other common extracurricular activities. You should be able to continue on with your activities as normal, but you will have to change your care regimen and look at what you eat. You’ll need to brush your teeth after each meal to make sure there’s no food stuck in your braces, and you’ll need to floss once a day. There are certain foods you should avoid while you have braces; these include sticky candies, crunchy foods, and gum. Basically, you will want to eat things that are not going to be “hard” on your braces, so options like soup, mashed potatoes, and ice cream would all be examples of good choices.


How long will I have to wear my braces?

The length of treatment time varies from patient to patient and depends on the treatment end goals and other factors. Your dentist will be able to give you more information at your consultation.


Why do I have to wear a retainer after I get my braces off? Does it really matter if I do or not?

To answer that second question in a word: yes. After putting in all the work and effort to straighten your teeth, don’t you want them to remain as perfect as possible? Wearing your retainer as instructed will prevent your teeth from moving back to the way they were before. Be sure to take good care of your retainer so it will last you a long time.


Should I get Invisalign or regular braces?

Invisalign is an attractive alternative to braces because it’s clear and less noticeable than traditional braces. You can think of Invisalign as a sort of removable, clear retainer. While some patients get great results with this treatment, it’s not an appropriate option for every patient’s needs. Again, we would be able to tell you more detailed information at your consultation.


I’m an adult in my 30’s. Am I too old for braces?

Increasing numbers of adults these days are deciding to take the plunge and get braces or Invisalign. In fact, many of our current clients are adults. It’s never too late, so don’t let age stop you from coming in to evaluate your options.

Still have questions? Feel free to contact us or schedule a visit with Chauvin Dental today!


Braces Vs Invisalign

lafayette la dentist Crooked, unaligned, unevenly spaced teeth can put a damper on someone’s life. Self esteem and confidence can go right out of the window and much of your day can be spent feeling like a giant blinking sign is ordering people to stare at your teeth. Often this isn’t this case but wouldn’t it be great if you could just smile with confidence and not have to worry about it? Braces and Invisalign are a great solution.

Aside from personal hangups, if crooked teeth are left untreated can lead to oral health problems. The misalignment of teeth places stress on the teeth and jaws that the mouth wasn’t designed for.

Common types of misalignments include:

  • crowding
  • spacing
  • deep bite
  • open bite
  • cross bite
  • edge to edge bite
  • excessive overbite

Unnatural stress and pressure leads to premature wear, causing chipping and notching of the gum line. Incorrectly biting down to over correct can lead to painful jaw pain that turn into earaches and headaches. Crooked teeth can also affect periodontal health because it is difficult to perform plaque removal from crowded area in the oral cavity. Bacteria that is not properly removed will multiply and trigger periodontal disease.

Braces or Invisalign?

Both braces and Invisalign were designed to straighten teeth while improving your smile and oral health. Customers first began using Invisalign in 2000, so this treatment does not yet have the same history as braces.

Braces consist of metal brackets being glued to your teeth, and tied together by wires and tiny rubber bands. Nowadays, you can get brackets to more closely match your enamel color (making them more discrete), or you can get them in color to make a fashion statement with your mouth!

Invisalign, on the other hand, is designed to be invisible. Aligner trays made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic are worn over your teeth to subtly and gently move your teeth. Your specialist will use X-rays, pictures, and impressions to create a precise 3-D image of your teeth and to configure your aligner trays accordingly.

What will work best for you?

  Braces (irremovable)         vs   Invisalign (removable)  
Metal-typically silver; can pay extra for color or enamel color Color Clear/invisible
24/7 for an average of 2 years, depending on patient needs Treatment time 22-24 hrs/day for 6 to 18 months, depending on patient needs
$1,800-$5,500 Cost Average of $5,000
Brush brackets and wires regularly while brushing teeth; water pick may be helpful. Maintenance Invisalign Cleaning system, or brushing and rinsing trays in luke warm water
About every month Follow up visits Change aligner trays every 2 weeks; visits every 4 to 6 weeks
Positioner or retainer likely needed ongoing, maybe only at night Follow up to treatment Positioner or retainer likely needed ongoing, maybe only at night
  • More effective for more complex issues
  • No temptation to leave them out, so less self discipline is needed for success
  • No extra cleaning steps required besides regular brushing and flossing
  • Invisible
  • Removable
  • No issues with food getting caught
  • No difficulty eating
  • No discomfort from wires
  • May have some pain, sores or discomfort from wires, brackets or tooth movement
  • May have some tooth discoloration or breakage
  • May have difficulty eating sticky, hard foods
  • May have discomfort from tooth movement
  • Must remove before eating or drinking anything but water
  • Must brush after each meal to avoid staining
Patients playing rough contact sports regularly NOT ideal for

Patients with:

  • bridgework
  • back tooth bite issues
  • the need to rotate canines or premolars
  • the need to move teeth vertically
  • lack of discipline to keep trays in for at least 22 hours daily

If you have any other questions or want to see what your options are come in to Dr. Chauvin’s office today!


Mouth tips for teeth that are too close together

teeth too closeIf you have teeth that are really jammed close together, flossing can be difficult. Years ago, it was almost impossible for me because the most widely available flosses just didn’t work. Now, however, there are so many types of floss and other cleaning tools that you’re more likely to get confused by all the choices than to be unable to find what works for you! This article is for those of you who know you need to floss and clean between your teeth better, but are frustrated by lack of good advice.

Floss for close teeth

Choosing the right floss is the first essential step in caring for a mouth full of closely packed teeth. Years ago, all you had were thick, waxed strings that wouldn’t even go between some pairs of teeth, and often shredded if you did manage to squeeze it in there and work it back and forth a little. Or just getting it in between your teeth required such a jerk that it would end up cutting your gums. Now you have far better options. For close teeth, you need to:

  • Avoid waxed flosses, unless they specifically say they’re designed for tight teeth. Traditional waxed flosses are just too thick, but some of the new ribbon flosses are technically waxed to prevent shredding, but they’re still extremely thin. Reach Unwaxed is a good choice.
  • Ribbon-style flosses, the ones that are thin and flat instead of just a thread, are better at slipping into tight spaces. I’m a big fan of Glide.

There are other flosses that are unwaxed and/or ribbon-style out there, and I’m sure many of them are good. These are just the two that I happened to find and have been using with great success for years. I can easily wiggle them between even my tightest teeth.

Beyond floss

A good floss once a day is enough for some people, but not me. I’m one of those lucky people who happen to collect tartar faster than most. I have to brush three times a day instead of twice, and even then, I still get cavities.

If flossing once a day isn’t cutting it, dental picks are a great way to clean your teeth after every meal, or even every snack if you feel the need. Again, there are many different types of picks, and what works for you may not work for someone else.

  • Brush type. Some people with close teeth can use some of the smaller “brush type” picks, like thesefrom Butler. They have little brushes on the ends that kind of remind me of pipe cleaners. You push the brush in between two teeth and move gently back and forth. This is a great type of dental pick because not only will it get rid of any food between your teeth, it will also massage your gums a little, stimulating circulation to help keep them healthy.
  • Plastic pick. If you can’t use these because your teeth are too close, you can probably use a plain, plastic toothpick with flat bristles, like these from The Doctor’s. These are little plastic sticks with just a few tiny plastic sticks poking out of the ends on two sides. This gives them a much thinner profile than the brush style picks, enabling them to slide between tighter teeth. The little plastic sticks on the end still function like a brush, scraping food from your teeth and stimulating the gums a little. You may actually have pairs of teeth you can’t even get one of these between – I do. But I can slide it partway in to at least do some good, and I floss between those teeth daily anyway.
  • Floss picks. If you struggle even to get a plastic pick between your teeth, something you may find convenient is a floss pick like these from Den Tek. These are little plastic sticks that fork at the end and have a piece of floss between the ends of the forks. These do not replace flossing: strings of floss can be wrapped partway around each tooth’s surface to really scrape off clinging bits of food, and these can only get in between for some basic cleanup. But basic cleanup in addition to a good daily flossing is very useful. These don’t really do anything for your gums, but they will help keep down the plaque.

Caring for teeth is a challenge when they’re really close together, but it’s getting easier. Do yourself a favor, and don’t just assume you can’t floss or pick because it’s been so difficult in years past. The tools are getting better all the time.

Why thumb sucking is bad for children’s teeth

If you asked a group of parents about their opinions on thumb sucking and pacifiers, odds are good that you would get a wide variety of opinions. This habit is a perfectly normal behavior in babies and young children because it provides security and comfort. The real problem begins when teeth start to come in because it can disrupt their formation.

When is thumb sucking a problem?

If thumbsucking continues after permanent teeth come in or especially in cases of excessively hard sucking, dental problems can occur.  Your child’s palate may become arched causing what’s known as an “Open Bite”.  It may also cause front teeth to be pushed forward, causing bite and speech problems.  Many older children who still suck their thumbs may have trouble making “S” sounds or sounds requiring the tongue to touch the front teeth.  Some children develop chapped skin or nail problems on the thumb or finger being sucked.  After age 5, or when permanent teeth are starting to erupt, the child should be encouraged to stop.

How can I help my child stop thumb sucking?

Children usually stop sucking their thumb during their toddler years, but some will continue to use the behavior as a comfort mechanism.  We’ve found that the best methods to curb thumbsucking are based on positive reinforcement.  Here are a few ideas you might consider:

  • A first-step may be to simply ignore the behavior, especially if it is part of a power struggle with your child or it is being used to gain attention.  Some experts suggest a “one month moratorium” on discussing the subject before moving on to other methods.
  • Use praise when your child isn’t sucking his or her thumb, never scold them when they do.
  • Try positive reinforcement such as a sticker chart or other reward system.
  • Seek out the possible causes of anxiety and work to alleviate the reasons for thumbsucking.
  • Some children suck their thumbs from boredom.  Try engaging your child in a fun activity.
  • Allow older children to pick a reward for not sucking their thumb.
  • Mention the behavior at your child’s next appointment and allow us to offer some positive motivation.
  • As a last resort, place a bandage or sock on the child’s hand at night to discourage thumbsucking while sleeping.

How to Fix a “Gummy Smile”

What is a Gummy smile? You may not have heard the phrase, but you’ve probably noticed the condition. A “gummy smile” occurs when too much gum tissue (in technical terms, over 4 millimeters, or about one-eighth of an inch) is visible in the smile. A gummy smile by itself is not considered to be unhealthy or abnormal. It has been long considered by dentists to be a normal variation of a persons body. but if you feel it detracts from your appearance, there are several ways dentists can treat a gummy smile.   

A gummy smile can give the teeth a short and unhealthy look. The gingival tissue should be at or just above the neck of the tooth, called the cementoenamel junction. In some cases of a gummy smile, the tissue may cover 50% or more of the teeth. The gummy smile can be caused by a variety of things. These can include:

• Abnormal eruption of the teeth can cause an excessive display of gingival in your upper jaw. As a result, your teeth may appear short due to the excessive gums, although they might actually be the proper length.

• The way your upper jaw bone develops over the years can also cause gummy smiles. For example, if there is an excessive bulging protrusion in your upper jaw within the gums, you will experience an obvious gingival issue.

• The muscle that takes control of the movement of your upper lip can be hyperactive and it can cause your upper lip to rise higher than usual. 

The presence of excess gum tissue makes maintenance of oral hygiene very difficult or at least more difficult than for patients without a gummy smile. This can lead to unhealthy tissue that can bleed easily as well as increased risk for tooth decay. The excessive tissue will allow food and bacteria to get lodged underneath, causing red, swollen gums and bleeding. This early situation is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest form of periodontal disease. If this goes untreated the gingivitis leads to  periodontal disease with progression toward tooth loss. 

Treatment for a gummy smile

If you think you have a gummy smile, visit your favorite Lafayette Louisiana dentist, Dr. Chauvin for confirmation and treatment options. Dr. Chauvin will examine your mouth, teeth and gums to determine the extent of the excessive gingival display and any possible causes. This examination may involve conventional and/or digital impressions of your teeth and gums. You may also need X-ray imaging so that the tooth roots and jaw bone can be carefully examined.

If you suffer from a severe gummy smile, your dentist may refer you to a specialist, like a periodontist, orthodontist or an oral surgeon. Depending on the nature of your specific clinical condition, treatment for your gummy smile could include:

1) Gingivectomy 

This is simply the removal of excess gum tissue. By removing the excess tissue and reshaping the gums, you end up with a very cosmetic result. During this procedure a very small amount of gum tissue needs to be removed.  The procedure is generally quite painless, but local anesthetic is necessary. The treatment requires no sutures and typically the gingival tissue heals within 1-2 weeks. A gingivectomy is usually the prescribed procedure when only a few teeth are affected by the gummy smile. Sometimes, the bone must also be remodeled to correct the problem.

2) Crown Lengthening 

During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is removed and reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one or more teeth to expose a natural, even, wide smile. This procedure is a bit more advanced but still relatively easy to perform by a trained dentist or specialist. The gum tissue is removed in the same way as in a gingivectomy, the bone removal requires rotary instrumentation.

There is a very low risk of complications for both procedures. Any discomfort following the procedures can usually be handled by over the counter medications. Patients will see results immediately. But over the next few weeks following the procedure it will look even better. This is because the gingival and bone tissues need time to fully heal. Once fully healed they will see the full effect of a beautiful and healthy smile and can say goodbye to their old gummy smile!

If you would like more information on treatments for “gummy” smiles, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

Periodontal Disease Linked to Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the most common health problems of many people around the globe. Did you know that poor oral hygiene can lead to heart problem? Gum disease is a type of condition wherein the tissues that surround the teeth are inflamed or has an infection. As this condition advances, the bones of the jaw will start to decay. This disease is caused by bacteria that grow within the surface of teeth under the gums. Scientific studies have shown that gum disease can lead to heart disease that can be describe as a diversity of heart infection, heart disease and other conditions.

Gum disease is an infection of the tissue that within the teeth. The first phase of gum disease is called as gingivitis as this condition aggravates, it can lead to periodontal disease. According to the expert from Michigan Health System, the mouth produces plaque naturally, an unseen substance situated in human teeth. This contains bacteria that can produce contaminant that can harm gum tissue, which will harden over time.

Heart Disease

Periodontal disease is linked to heart disease because when the infection and damage of the gums and bones becomes worst, the bacteria and the tiny fragments can be swallowed thus leading to heart disease. This is because the bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and can be deposited to the heart tissue that causes inflammation and infection.

Gingivitis is a slight condition that causes red and swollen gums that may bleed when brushed. Periodontitis can be seen when the gums starts to withdraw from teeth, wherein it exposes the bone. The unprotected bone may become infected with the bacteria. The gums may become swollen, red and may emit pus. The loosen teeth and bad breath means that it should be extracted immediately.
The signs of bacterial endocarditis comprises of breathlessness, joint pain, coughing, muscle aches, weakness, fever, fatigue and heart murmur. Heart functional issues eventually follows such as chest pain, irregular heart beat and heart palpitations.

Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease

The risk of developing this condition is very high for individuals who have genetic predisposition but most of all it is very common for people who doesn’t practice a healthy oral care. The teeth should be brushed at least 2-3 times a day and flossed once a day. Additionally, people with poor immune system are also prone to develop the condition such as patients with diabetes, leukemia and AIDS. Smokers or people who are under high stress with poor diet are also prone to develop this condition.

Prevention and Treatment of Periodontal Disease

The prevention is very important to avoid the bad effects of periodontal disease. Proper oral care like brushing and flossing the teeth regularly is a must to protect your teeth from these bacteria. Additionally, do not be afraid to visit your reliable and dependable dentist regularly for at least two times a year to prevent periodontal disease. Mild case of gingivitis will require proper oral care and antibacterial medication, but in severe case, the dentist may need to remove parts of the gums wherein it is the only way to prevent the disease to spread.

In conclusion, heart disease due to periodontal disease can be evaded as long as you know how to care your teeth.  Consulting the dentist is an effective way to help you prevent heart disease.

5 Tips for Mouth Health

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life it’s becoming more and more easy for people to forget about one of the most important aspects of their well-being–oral health. When you think of mouth health, you probably associate it with having straight teeth or fresh breath, but neither of these things indicate that your teeth are strong and well maintained. If you want to make sure that your oral health is on point following the five simple steps outlined here.


Mouth Health Tips to Follow:

1. Practice Regular Brushing and Flossing

  • It is good practice to brush your teeth at leas twice per day. Ideally, it’s also good to brush in between meals. To brush properly, remember to move the toothbrush in a circular motion rather than straight across. Don’t forget to gently brush your tongue, too. The circular motion helps break up more plaque and cleans a bigger surface area.
  • Many people have a difficult time with regular flossing. Remember, brushing your teeth is a very important part of oral health, but it doesn’t get everything in the nooks and crannies. Regular flossing reduces the chances of infection, inflammation, and cavities between the teeth. Don’t let your dentist be the only person that cares enough to floss your teeth–take the initiative! Floss each time you brush.

2. Stop Tobacco Use

Cigarette are not just a root cause to develop lung cancer and other types of respiratory disease but it is also one of the common causes of other gum or mouth disease. People who are chain smokers usually encounter toot loss, pus between teeth, bad breath, bleeding gums, bone loss, gum recession and other. This condition can lead to periodontal disease as well. That is why if you want to have good mouth health, it is best to avoid cigarette smoking.

3. Chew gum.

What’s the catch? It has to be sugar-free. Chewing gum actually helps break up food that’s stuck in your teeth and increases saliva to neutralize oral acid.

4. Dental Check-ups

You can do plenty on your own to keep up your oral health — but it’s also important to see us regularly. When you visit Dr. Chauvin’s office  twice a year, we will check you for early signs of problems, and take care of any that we find… before they get bigger and harder to treat. We’ll also make sure you leave with a sparkling smile that has been thoroughly and professionally cleaned.

5. Healthy Diet

Believe it or not, what you eat can certainly impact your dental health. Eating a well-balanced diet will ensure that you are receiving necessary vitamins to help keep your teeth strong. Plus, reducing sweets will help protect your teeth against cavities.

If you would like to learn more on mouth health or just want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chauvins office contact us today!!



Is There A Vaccination For Cavities In The Future?

Is there a vaccination for cavities in the future? This is perhaps a common question for most people who are looking for non-costly means on how to protect the teeth from cavities permanently. Since immemorial, cavities is one of the most common problems of people and it is the reason why they need to go to the dentist at least twice a year in order to determine if their teeth are always healthy.

What is Mutans Streptococci?

Mutans streptococci are a type of bacteria that is responsible for cavities. This is a type of bacteria that is naturally released by our system particularly in the mouth area.  They can be there at the mouth not harming the oral system. On the other hand, poor oral hygiene, genetic predisposition, weak immune system can allow these bacteria to proliferate in the system thus causing harm and can lead to periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a condition wherein cavities have advanced causing to destroy the teeth, gums and well as the bones within the jaw. As a result, the bacteria can travel through bloodstream which can infect the heart eventually.

Vaccines are important preventive measure to avert such health condition to thrive. Believe it or not, scientist and researchers from the Forsyth Institute in Boston in U.S. are studying or researching a vaccine which targets the bacteria mutans streptococci.  You have to understand that when these bacteria break down the food they produce lactic acid that is responsible to wear away the tooth enamel.

About the Vaccine

The main objective of the vaccine is to enhance the immune system to create antibodies that can kill the enzyme that permits the bacteria to stick into the teeth. Since, it cannot cling anymore to the tooth enamel the bacteria are eradicated by saliva thus protecting the teeth and gums.

In an experiment done and rats are given with this vaccine has not develop any cavities. Trials are also used in people and it shown that the vaccine is promising because it does not have caused any issue.

Moreover, experts also suggest that it can be an ideal vaccine for children below 1 year old while their teeth are still developing and at the same time the plaque bacteria is already established. According to the experts, if this vaccine is given to children, it can avert thrive of plaque bacteria. This is an effective barrier to help the children to have a better oral health for life.

The adults who are tested for this vaccination shows that the vaccine helps to decrease the cavity and oral health problems. Moreover, still it is still not out in the market because additional researches are still being done.

Cavity vaccines can be an effective tool to protect the teeth and the overall health. On the other hand, practicing a good oral health and visiting the dentist regularly is still imperative to assure that your teeth are healthy as well as to protect health from periodontal disease. Cavities can be avoided as long as you know how to protect oral health.


Until this vaccine becomes a reality Dr. Chauvin, your favorite Lafayette Louisiana dentist wants you to remember to get teeth cleanings twice a year to keep your mouth happy. Contact us today!

What is dry socket?

Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, is known to happen following a tooth extraction or wisdom teeth extractionThis blood clot serves as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. The clot provides the foundation for the growth of new tissue and bone. 
In some cases, though, the clot doesn’t form properly or is physically dislodged before complete healing. With the clot gone, bone and nerves in the socket are exposed to air, fluids and food. This can cause intense pain, not only in the socket but also along the nerves radiating to the ear and eye on the same side of your face. 
The precise cause of dry socket remains the subject of study. Some researchers suspect that several issues may be at play, including:

Causes of Dry Socket

  • Bacterial contamination of the socket
  • Severe bone and tissue trauma at the surgical site due to a difficult extraction
  • Very small fragments of roots or bone remaining in the wound after surgery
  • Drinking from a straw, smoking, or any sort of similar sucking action
  • Exercise
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Swishing with water
  • Drinking carbonated beverages (soda, beer, sparkling water etc.)

Symptoms of Dry Socket

  • Severe pain within a few days after a tooth extraction
  • Partial or total loss of the blood clot at the tooth extraction site, which you may notice as an empty-looking (dry) socket
  • Visible bone in the socket
  • Earache
  • Eye pain
  • Bad breath or a foul odor coming from your mouth
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes around your jaw or neck
  • Slight fever


Treatment of Dry Socket

The treatment of dry socket begins with seeking care from your dentist. Dry socket can be diagnosed by a simple examination to determine a treatment plan specifically for you.

Medications as treatment for dry socket

Dry socket is typically treated with prescription pain-relieving medication, often in the form of medicated dressings that are applied to the teeth. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if an infection is present.

Examples of medical treatments for dry socket include:

  • Antibiotics, such as penicillin or erythromycin
  • Over-the-counter pain-relieving and fever-reducing medications
  • Prescription pain relievers or medicated dressings. These dressings may need to be changed every day for several days, either at home or by your dentist.

In addition to medical treatment, your dentist will inspect and clean the dry socket. If you are experiencing severe pain, a local anesthetic may be used. Getting prompt treatment and completing all the medication prescribed by your dentist are important in preventing complications or recurrence.

What you can do to improve your dry socket

You should contact your dentist if you had a tooth extraction and think you may have a dry socket. Before seeing your health care provider, you may be able to reduce the discomfort associated with your dry socket by:

  • Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers or pain relievers prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon following extraction
  • Using ice packs on the cheek next to the dry socket to decrease pain and swelling

Dry Socket Prevention

After your dental procedure your dentist will go over these things with you but an extra reminder never hurts!

  • Activity. After your surgery, plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Resume normal activities the next day, but for at least a week, avoid rigorous exercise and sports that might result in dislodging the blood clot in the socket.
  • Beverages. Drink lots of water after the surgery. Don’t drink alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or hot beverages in the first 24 hours. Don’t drink with a straw for at least a week because the sucking action may dislodge the blood clot in the socket.
  • Food. Eat only soft foods, such as yogurt or applesauce, for the first day. Start eating semisoft foods when you can tolerate them. Avoid hard, chewy, hot or spicy foods that might get stuck in the socket or irritate the wound.
  • Cleaning your mouth. Following surgery, you may gently rinse your mouth and brush your teeth, but avoid the extraction site. After the first 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water every two hours while awake and after meals for a week after your surgery. Mix 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) of table salt in 8 ounces (237 milliliters) of water.
  • Tobacco use. If you smoke, don’t do so for at least 48 hours after surgery. If you chew tobacco, don’t use it for at least a week. Any use of tobacco products after oral surgery can delay healing and increase the risk of complications.

If you have any further questions feel free to contact Dr. Chauvin’s office today!