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  • Dr. John

What is Dry Socket?

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

A dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is a painful condition that can occur after tooth extraction. When a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms in the socket, which helps protect the underlying bone and nerves as the area heals. However, in some cases, this blood clot may become dislodged or dissolve prematurely, leaving the socket exposed and vulnerable. This condition is called a "dry socket" and usually occurs 3-5 days after a procedure.


Symptoms

The main symptoms of a dry socket include severe pain that often radiates to the ear or jaw, bad breath, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, and an empty-looking or dry socket where the tooth was extracted. The pain is typically more intense than the normal discomfort following tooth extraction and may not be relieved by narcotic pain medications.


Causes

Several factors can contribute to the development of a dry socket, including:

smoking, poor oral hygiene, traumatic extractions, oral contraceptives, and certain systemic conditions. The risk is higher in the extraction of impacted wisdom teeth or when the extraction site is challenging to clean.


Treatment

Placement of a medicated dressing

Over the counter non steroidal drugs like ibuprofen


Prevention:

Avoiding: smoking, vigorous rinsing or spitting, using a straw, and

maintaining good oral hygiene by gently brushing and rinsing the mouth.


It's worth noting that dry socket is relatively uncommon, occurring in about 2-5% of tooth extractions. In this office, we may see about 1-2 such cases per year. However, it can be a significant source of pain and discomfort. If you have any of these symptoms please call the office.


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