What is a dry socket?

Dry socket is an infection that can occur after tooth extraction. It is most common in the area of lower wisdom teeth. After extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket, the space that once held the tooth, and seals the area so that it can heal. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot breaks down or is dislodged, exposing the bone and nerves.

Dry socket is the term used to describe a tooth extraction site that does not heal properly. It is most common with impacted lower wisdom teeth. Dry socket typically presents 3 days after the extraction is completed. A blood clot will not form or dislodge leading to an exposed extraction site. This leads to excruciating pain in the area that typically radiates through the lower jaw. It is often accompanied by a foul smell. Be sure to contact the office if you think you have dry socket so that we can treat the area accordingly.

How do I know if I have dry socket?

Dry socket most commonly occurs during the first 2-5 days after tooth extraction. It is accompanied by an intense throbbing pain. In addition, you may have foul breath and a bad odor emanating from the extraction site. Contact us as soon as possible if you think you may have dry socket.

How is dry socket treated?

If you have dry socket it’s important to come see us as soon as possible. We will irrigate (rinse out) the infected site and place a medication in the extraction socket to reduce pain and promote healing. We may also opt to prescribe you antibiotics and pain medication.

We first irrigate the area with sterile saline to flush out any debris. We then pack the site with dry socket paste. This contains eugenol and clove which acts as a sedative to calm down the area and allow it to heal properly.