Is it Possible to Get a Bone Infection After a Tooth Extraction?

Is it Possible to Get a Bone Infection After a Tooth Extraction?

Getting a tooth pulled rarely causes complications, but in case of a bone infection, here’s what you need to know. 

A tooth extraction is one of the most commonly performed dental procedures today. Although your dentist will make every effort to save a tooth, you may need to have the tooth pulled because it is severely decayed or broken. Wisdom teeth typically require extraction, as well. In many cases, removing an affected tooth enables your oral health and comfort to improve.

However, as with any oral surgery, complications can arise after tooth extraction. One such complication is the potential for a bone infection. Although a bone infection after a tooth extraction is extremely rare, it is still important to know the signs of an infection so you can receive immediate treatment if necessary. Here’s what to look for and what you can do to prevent an infection.

The signs of a bone infection

Tooth extraction is a rather straightforward procedure. Your dentist removes the tooth from its bony socket and you’re done! Afterward, you’ll experience temporary minor bleeding and pain that goes away after a day or two. You’ll recover and move on to the next steps of replacing the missing tooth. 

However, a slight chance of infection may still occur after extraction. The gap left by the missing tooth may attract bacteria, and that bacteria could spread to the bone. Known medically as osteomyelitis, a bone infection after getting a tooth pulled will display these symptoms:

  • Bleeding and pain that lingers a day or two after the extraction.
  • A foul taste or odor in the mouth.
  • Swelling and redness in the area around the extraction.
  • A high fever over 101.
  • A discharge from the extraction site.
  • Swollen glands in the neck.
  • Feeling tired.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should report them to your dentist immediately. Blood tests and X-rays can determine if the bone is infected. 

Treatment includes antibiotics, surgery, or a combination of both to clear the infection. Your dentist may recommend a bone graft if the infection has caused significant bone damage. During this procedure, a bone from another body part replaces the damaged bone. Follow-up visits will determine how well the bone is healing following treatment.

Note that a bone infection is different from a dry socket. After an extraction, a blood clot covers the extraction site to protect the bone. If the clot becomes dislodged, a dry socket forms. While a dry socket causes severe pain, it’s not a sign of a bone infection.

Preventing a bone infection

To prevent a bone infection, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics after the extraction to kill bacteria before any infection develops. Take medications as instructed.

Keeping the extraction site clean can also fend off infection. Avoid brushing and rinsing your mouth for 12 hours after the extraction. After that time period, you can rinse your mouth with a prescription mouthwash or warm salt water. When you start brushing and flossing again, take care not to aggravate the extraction area until it’s completely healed. 

Practicing good oral hygiene prior to tooth extraction is the best way to prevent an infection. The cleaner your mouth is, the less likely an infection will take hold!

Need dental care? See Espire Dental

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists have performed thousands of tooth extractions and will make the procedure as safe and pleasant as possible. Don’t live near our La Mesa, California, office? Find one of our other locations near you.

La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Parkway 
Suite 102 
La Mesa, CA 91942