Tap to Read ➤

Dry Socket after Tooth Extraction

Shrinivas Kanade Nov 1, 2018
Getting your tooth extracted may be a painful ordeal to undergo. But what could be more painful than this is having a dry socket after tooth extraction. Here we give you an insight into this condition.
Almost every tooth extraction causes discomfort and pain to the patient. This pain diminishes as time passes. However, if the pain intensifies between three and five days, the situation needs to be looked into.
Symptoms, such as foul odor emanating from the extraction site and moderate to severe pain which radiates to the eye and/or the ear, are associated with dry socket. Visual examination of the extraction site may reveal an empty and exposed socket bone, due to the absence of the blood clot. Because of this, the condition has been named as 'dry socket'.

A Few Preventive Measures to Consider

You can control some of the factors that can help you in preventing a dry socket. The following list contains the general instructions to follow after a tooth extraction:
☛ As a part of precaution, dentists advise their patients to exert a firm biting pressure on the gauze placed on the site of extraction for as long as 60 minutes.

☛ Normally, this will offer time and opportunity for the formation of a protective blood clot at the site of extraction, which is the intention of your dentist.
☛ It may take 24 hours or more, after a tooth extraction for the blood clot to get settled firmly.

☛ After, the blood clot is in place, the patient must take care not to disrupt and dislodge it.

☛ From your side you can do this by avoiding vigorous rinsing of your mouth for the first 24 hours.
☛ Actions, like sucking on a straw or cigarette can dislodge the blood clot by lowering the pressure around it, than the pressure in the socket or the space under it.

☛ Abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, exercises, and most importantly from drinking hot liquids, such as coffee or soup can help you in preventing a dry socket.
☛ In case of gum diseases such as periodontitis, etc., dentist may advise an antibiotic course to counter infection.
☛ Antibacterial mouthwash is also a help to those, who are not great dental hygienist, in countering the pre/post operative bacterial growth near the site of the tooth extractions.
☛ Following the post-operative instructions is important as it may help you in avoiding or having to attend post-operative complications.

After a Dry Socket

If you think it is too late to prevent a dry socket, then here are a few tips you can follow:
☛ Use cold packs to minimize or deaden the pain. This will also take care of the swelling, if you have any.

☛ Take the painkiller prescribed and stick to dosages.

☛ Add a little salt to the water and rinse your mouth many times a day.
☛ Maintain oral hygiene by brushing the area gently around the site of dry socket.

☛ If the pain is severe and doesn't respond the home remedies, know that it is time to consult your dentist.


It is difficult to control the pain due to a dry socket after a tooth extraction by using only analgesics as the pain killers. Your dentist may need to clean it and apply dressing on it for you. He may use an extract of clove oil and/or an anesthetic to dampen the pain.
Depending on the severity of the infection, he may advice you to change the dressing regularly for 3-6 days. Mostly, you will have to wait it out while the healing process gears itself to take care of the infection.
The extent of trauma associated with the tooth extraction may have an impact on whether or not you suffer from it. Greater the trauma, greater is the chance of your having to face this condition. It is believed that women consuming birth control pills are more susceptible to form it due to high estrogen levels in their body.
The other factors that may affect your chances of having a dry socket are age, location of tooth, type of tooth and how it is seating inside the gum bone. If you have a history of having dry sockets after a tooth extraction, it is best to mention it to your dentist.
It appears that the dental patients, in their 20s have a lesser chance of developing a dry socket. So, if you older than 20, it is advisable that you check with your insurance company for information on the dental insurance cover available to you in case of a dry socket.
Disclaimer: The information provided is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.