A tooth loss means an empty tooth socket, and that exposes your inner body to the germs of the outside world. Those germs can cause infection of the empty socket which is potentially deadly. About 3% of front teeth and 25% of extracted wisdom teeth will develop a dry socket. See Alveolar osteitis at Wikipedia for the basic background knowledge. I did a web search for the number of people who have died from the dry socket problem, but didn’t find anything definitive. That is strange because I have talked to people who have personally known other people who have died from this common problem, so it seems there should be some statistics. It would be classified as part of sepsis which is a common cause of death. The term septicemia, the presence of microorganisms or their toxins in the blood, is no longer used by the medical community, but sepsis, which has other causes, causes millions of deaths globally each year.
How to prevent a dry socket
To avoid a dry socket, and the exposure of your whole body to sepsis, it is necessary to grow new tissue over the exposed tooth socket. This normally happens because when the tooth is pulled out the socket it will bleed, and it will soon form a blood clot. It is the semi-solid blood clot in the tooth socket, which given a few days will form itself into firm new tissue. A dry socket will result if the clot is removed by brushing, rinsing, chemical dissolving, or daubing away with a sterile cotton swab. You must have a blood filled tooth socket before a clot can form, and you must have a clot before new tissue can form. Therefore, you must protect that blood, and blood clot and not disturb it for several days.
Instead of keeping the socket clean by daubing the clot away, you should put a piece of bandage tape over it, perhaps with a little air gap. On the first day, if the clot gets removed for any reason, and the gum doesn’t spontaneously bleed, you should consider replacing the blood with other blood from your own body. This is easily done by: 1. Washing your hands and face with soap and warm water. 2. Sterilizing a needle. 3. Poke the needle into your finger tip, to make it bleed a drop of blood. 4. Put the drop of blood down into the empty tooth socket. 5. Repeat with a few more drops until the socket is full of blood. 6. Be very careful to not to disturb the blood-clot-filled socket for several days. 7. Putting a bandage directly above the blood filled socket will help to keep your tongue from rubbing the clot away. 8. Check back a few times to make sure the clot has remained in place, and if the socket is empty repeat the above procedure. If in two days a clot hasn’t formed go to your dentist.
The above procedure wasn’t found anywhere on the internet, and yet is seems obvious. This is an experimental procedure, and I can’t promise any positive results, so be careful.
This photo was taken six days after the extraction. I didn’t have the procedure of filling in the tooth socket with my own blood until about the third day. By then the socket has filled in okay, but if there had been more blood in the socket hole I think the tissue that formed would have filled in the hole a little more. I hope there won’t be a next time for me losing a tooth, but perhaps as you are reading this you will have lost a tooth and can squeeze a little blood into the empty socket. Let me know your results, good bad or otherwise. Including cell phone closeup photos would be great.
Putting a few drops of your own blood into a dry tooth socket may save you some grief.