Alveolar osteitis or alveolitis is a dental complication that can occur after tooth extraction. It is currently a rare pathology, occurring in 3-4% of cases, being more common in the extraction of wisdom teeth or teeth that have infection.
What is alveolitis?
It is a very painful disease for the patient. Although it is not serious and disappears after a few days of adequate treatment, it is important to point out that it does not disappear on its own, but requires dental treatment. Below we describe how to avoid alveolitis and how to identify it in case you get it.
Causes of dental alveolitis
Whenever there is an extraction, after the tooth is removed, a blood clot will form in the gap left in the gum, allowing the wound to heal completely.
When this clot does not form completely, or breaks or falls out before the wound has healed, this is when alveolitis can occur, since the internal tissues that supported the extracted tooth are exposed to oral bacteria and other pathogens that can infect them. This infection causes severe pain and inflammation.
Alveolitis usually occurs within the first three to five days after tooth extraction, with specific risk factors such as smoking, corticosteroid use and oral contraceptive use.
Types of alveolitis and their symptoms
Depending on the symptoms, we can differentiate two types of alveolitis:
- Dry alveolitis: characterized by the absence of formed clots, so that the cavity remains open and empty. The patient will feel it with severe pain, which will intensify during chewing.
- Wet alveolitis: In this case, the cavity is not empty but contains some tissue that irritates it. This type of alveolitis does not cause pain to the patient.
The main symptom that can lead us to suspect that the tooth clot has fallen out and alveolitis has occurred is intense pain in the area during the first 48-72 hours after tooth extraction.
Other symptoms that may also occur during the development of alveolitis are:
- Throbbing pain in the extraction area radiating to the entire face.
- Inflammation extending under the jaw and in the neck.
Prevention and treatment of alveolitis
The first step to prevent dental alveolitis is the treatment performed by the surgeon during dental extraction, favoring the formation of a blood clot that prevents the onset of infection.
This preventive treatment consists of cleaning the hollows (alveoli), applying a medical gauze and a specific topical medication. In the indicated cases, the surgeon will prescribe an oral antibiotic that the patient will start taking approximately two days before the surgery and for 7 days.
In some cases, the patient should clean the oral cavity by rinsing with a mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, a bactericide that helps eliminate bacteria, preventing the onset of infection.
If even with all the precautions taken, alveolitis develops, the cavity will have to be cleaned again and antibiotics and specific anti-inflammatory drugs will have to be prescribed to eradicate the infection, inflammation and pain. If properly treated, alveolitis usually subsides in about 10 days.
For this reason, it is always advisable to go to first level specialists in this field, such as our dentists in barcelona who will advise you in case you develop alveolitis. Providing personalized and specific treatment.