Alveolitis After Tooth Extraction: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments


Alveolitis is a dental problem that can happen after a tooth is removed. When a tooth is pulled out, a blood clot usually forms in the hole where the tooth used to be. This clot helps protect the bone and nerves underneath and helps the area heal. However, in some cases, this blood clot can be lost or removed too early. This can leave the bone and nerves exposed and cause pain, bad breath, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. This problem is called alveolitis or dry socket. It can take longer for the area to heal and is more likely to happen if you smoke, have poor dental hygiene, or have had alveolitis in the past.

Causes of Alveolitis After Tooth Extraction

An inflammation can become a completely natural consequence of tooth extraction. This is a normal condition, because the tissues are injured, and an open wound occurs. However, sometimes the process can have a complex outcome.

Often this condition occurs when there is no blood clot in the socket after tooth extraction. This is a complicated consequence, since its task is to protect soft tissues from infection. Often, damage or removal of a blood clot occurs with the excessive use of rinses and antiseptics. Many patients think that frequent rinsing promotes rapid healing. However, this opinion is erroneous. With a higher probability, such manipulations cause the appearance of a dry socket and other related complications.

In addition to improper rinses, the causes of alveolitis consist of the following factors:

  • weak immunity;
  • low blood coagulation;
  • violation of medical recommendations for care after surgery;
  • getting into the wound of the remnants of the bone or particles of the crumbled tooth;
  • carious damage of teeth;
  • insufficient processing of the hole;
  • bacterial infections;
  • smoking.

Diagnosis of alveolitis after tooth extraction can be based on the history and information obtained during the checkup. To identify tooth remnants, bone tissue particles, and other unnecessary elements in the hole, the dentist may recommend an x-ray (if this was not done after the surgery).

Symptoms of Alveolitis

Some patients are sure that after tooth extraction it is normal to have painful sensations of varying degrees. And therefore, the first signs of alveolitis are often missed. It is true that certain symptoms can be observed in the first two or three days after the procedure. But if they do not disappear, but also worsen, then you need to contact a specialist.

What symptoms should the patient pay attention to before visiting the dentist?

  1. The appearance of increasing pain in the hole of the extracted tooth;
  2. The spread of pain in the entire half of the jaw;
  3. Presence of dry socket alveolitis;
  4. Heat;
  5. The gum near the hole turns red and swells;
  6. A bad putrid smell is felt from the mouth;
  7. An increase in lymph nodes is possible with the development of inflammation under the jaw.

All or some of the listed symptoms usually appear a couple of days after surgery. If the patient does not take any measures to stop the pathology, then the inflammation can last about 2 weeks.

According to the degree of manifestations, 3 forms of disease are distinguished:

  1. Serous alveolitis – this condition begins 3 days after tooth extraction. A distinctive symptom of this stage is the appearance of nagging pain, which intensifies during meals.There is no temperature increase or it is insignificant;
  2. Purulent alveolitis. At this stage, severe pain does not subside. It becomes more intense, and eating becomes difficult. The affected area and soft tissues swell, so that it is impossible to open the mouth completely. There is also a feeling of weakness and malaise, fever, bitter taste in the mouth, and an unpleasant odor;
  3. Hypertrophic alveolitis. There is a subsidence of pain, a decrease in temperature, as well as the normalization of the patient's condition. At this stage, inflammation outside the socket increases, the gum swells and acquires a blue tinge. This is a very insidious and dangerous condition.

Alveolitis must be treated on time under the close supervision of a dentist. Otherwise, the inflammation of the socket falls below the jawbone and causes osteomyelitis.

Alveolitis Treatment

The main goal of therapy is to eliminate the infection, prevent complications and maintain healthy teeth. Alveolitis treatment begins with cleaning the hole mechanically and washing out purulent residues with antiseptic agents. With severe pain syndrome, applications with analgesics and anesthetics are used.

It’s important to know that this therapy aggravates immunodeficiency states, therefore, to achieve the desired result, vitamin complexes and immunostimulating drugs are prescribed in parallel. In addition, good anti-inflammatory, wound healing, and analgesic effect are provided by physiotherapy procedures:

  • laser therapy,
  • electrophoresis,
  • phonophoresis (using ultrasound).

By following all the recommendations and starting treatment on time, it’s possible to achieve complete recovery and stable and long-term remission. In general, the prognosis of alveolitis is favorable, it depends on the state of the immune system, the presence of concomitant diseases, as well as timely seeking medical help, and adequate therapy. A complication of this disease is possible with secondary infection if the treatment was initially incorrect, insufficient, or completely absent.

Notice! Never treat alveolitis at home. Warm or cold compresses are strictly prohibited. Any unprofessional manipulations can lead to an aggravation of the condition, and provoke the spread of infection to neighboring organs.

Initially, when choosing dentistry, it’s important to take into account the level of equipment of the clinic, and the level of training and experience of the dental surgeon. The doctor is required to have an impeccable command of a simple and surgical method of tooth extraction, compliance with the requirements of asepsis and antisepsis, the use of high-quality anesthetics, and the appointment of effective postoperative therapy. The result depends not only on the dentist but also on the patient's lifestyle, as well as compliance with all recommendations after tooth extraction (do oral hygiene, avoid injury to the wound, and avoid hot, hard, and spicy food). Thus, prevention of alveolitis is quite possible.