I had a rear molar removed, and did everything possible to avoid "dry socket" and protect the area. (As I understand it, "dry socket" is what happens when the membrane of coagulated blood that covers the socket and turns into gum material (whatever it's called), suddenly gets broken by means of chewing hard foods or blowing forcefully or exerting oneself, and leaves the nerves of the inner socket open and exposed, as well, producing sensations of severe pain that cannot be easily repaired.)
After my rear-molar extraction, I had followed all the instructions to the T, but the dentist had said nothing about playing an instrument, so I made the "mistake" of practicing, albeit probably several days after the extraction. I cannot remember.
Still, the slight burning sensation that I felt whenever exerting myself even slightly, went on for six to eight weeks before I could play comfortably again. I don't know if it was exacerbated by doing a few things up until that point, that I was not supposed to do, such as pushing one wheel-barrel uphill on one occasion. Let's assme that I did not go over the limit, for the sake of argument.
In general, until that time, I was scared to practice, because any slight burning discomfort made me think I was going to make it worse, over several weeks, but dentists tell me that "slight burning" is not a symptom of "dry socket," but rather, "severe pain" would have been a more accurate symptom, so, I guess I did not have "dry socket."
The dentist had told me that I should be able to do anything in about one week or less. Had I asked for clarification, maybe the dentist would have said that, in spite of the discomfort, it was permissable to practice. I think that was the conclusion implied. I guess what he means is that it will not produce any damage per se, but the burning sensation, itself, can linger for six weeks or more.
Conclusion: don't confuse the slight burning sensation with actual socket damage, but then don't even try it for an entire week or more, just to be safe--especially if it's a molar, bigger than the front teeth, for example.
Some people tell me that the gum can be slightly sutured, just after the extraction, to protect it even further and expedite the healing. I would definitely request that at all costs.
I would be interested to know your own experiences, however, just to confirm my theories above.
For the sake of comparison, please answer, those of you who had:
1. only one tooth removed at the time,
2. only a lower-jaw tooth removed (which are more delicate),
3. only a big molar removed (vs. a smaller front tooth, for example).
A. Please tell us exactly how many days or weeks had to pass, before you could play the saxophone again "comfortably" without any sign of harm (my example said "six weeks," but was based only on slight discomfort)
B. If any of you happened to damage the socket or fleshly membrane by playing the saxophone too soon after the tooth was removed, and did that damage specifically because of playing the instrument, how many days had transpired up to that point, since the extraction?