Dry Socket – Cause, Symptoms And Treatment

What Is A Dry Socket?

Following the removal of a tooth, a blood clot will form in the socket where the tooth used to be.  The blood clot helps the area heal by keeping the socket clean and stopping food from getting stuck in it.  However, if this blood clot becomes dislodged this is called a dry socket.  This is more common after the removal of lower wisdom teeth than other teeth in the mouth.

What Causes A Dry Socket?

The blood clot can become dislodged causing a dry socket by drinking through a straw, vigorous rinsing, coughing, sneezing, smoking, and drinking alcohol.  All of these should be avoided for 48 hours following an extraction.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Dry Socket?

Without a blood clot in your socket, your bone is exposed causing constant pain which is throbbing and intense.  The pain will be worse than when the tooth was first extracted and won’t be relieved by painkillers.  This occurs within three days of having your tooth removed and may also be accompanied by a foul odor.

What’s The Treatment For A Dry Socket?

The dry socket needs to be filled with a dressing to alleviate pain and assist with healing.  This will need to be done by the person who extracted your tooth, either your dentist or oral surgeon.  The pain relief after having your socket dressed is almost immediate but if the pain returns you may have to go back to have your socket dressed again.  If there is pus in your socket your dentist may prescribe you antibiotics.  Maintain good oral hygiene during the healing phase and follow your dentist’s instructions on rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash or saltwater.

What Happens If You Leave A Dry Socket Untreated?

If you leave a dry socket untreated it will be very painful and may become infected.  The pain will continue if a dressing has not been placed.  A dry socket has the potential to get infected as it can easily trap food which can be very difficult to cleanout.

If you have a dry socket that won’t heal, even when following your dentist’s instructions, it’s important to go back to your dentist.  They will be able to advise you about what is the best treatment for you.

One Comment

  • jean

    i may have dry socket but im a little unsure cause the pain im having isnt that bad but it looks similar to the pic u have posted by this article.. is there anything i can do before i go to the dentist or should i just go just to be on the safe side? i didnt even realize there was a huge hole on the side i thought that they were gonna cut it out right on top.. i couldnt see the hole cause my cheek on the inside was swollen and covered over it..