Having teeth out can be a painful and traumatic experience for a patient. This is especially true where wisdom teeth are concerned as they tend to be quite difficult to extract. Unfortunately, some patients, as well as having to deal with the pain of their healing extraction sites, also have to contend with mouth ulcers, which may appear near or at the extraction sites.
If you have recently had a tooth extraction and have now noticed that an ulcer or sore has developed near the site, there could be several causes. Normally, a dentist can examine the site at your post operatory evaluation a few days after the surgery. However, if the condition worsens, you should see the dentist sooner.
Stress Causes Mouth Ulcers
Also referred to as canker sores or apthous ulcers, mouth ulcers have been linked to stress. A 2009 study on RAS (recurrent apthous stomatitis), an ulcerative disease, found that psychological stress leads to mouth ulcers.
Stress also weakens your immune system, limiting its ability to fight infection. Since a tooth extraction is a stressful event then, the ulcers near your extraction site could be caused by stress.
Tissue Injury Leads to Mouth Ulcers
When teeth are difficult to remove, for example, when the roots are deeply embedded such as in the case of wisdom teeth, dentists need to use more force to remove them. This, unfortunately, may cause damage to the surrounding gum tissue. Small lacerations on the gum tissue around the extraction site could later become mouth ulcers.
As long as an ulcer is minor, i.e. only about 1 cm in diameter, it should heal in a few days time.
The Ulcer May in Fact Be Dry Socket
If the ulcer that is causing you pain is on, or in, the extraction site, then it may in fact be dry socket and not a mouth ulcer. Dry socket occurs when the extraction site does not heal properly. Generally, after an extraction, a blood clot should form at the site. If undisturbed, this clot should become more established, much like a scab on a cut on your finger, for example.
However, if disturbed, the clot may be lost. When this happens, the pain is usually quite severe as the bone under the site is exposed and unprotected. If you look closely at the site, you may be able to see bone inside the wound. In this case, you need to see your dentist ASAP so they can cover the wound with a dressing that contains zinc-oxide eugenol.
Ulcers can be irritating, if not painful when they are near an extraction site, but they usually heal within a few days. However, if your ulcer has not healed within 7-10 days, notify your dentist and book a dental appointment. If you see bone at the site, get to your dentist right away.