What is dry socket?

Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, is a painful complication of the healing process following tooth extraction that results in exposure of the space where the tooth was formerly located. Dry socket occurs when the protective blood clot that forms at the site of tooth extraction falls out, is damaged, or dissolves. This exposes the bone in the area of the empty tooth socket and causes severe discomfort. Dry socket occurs in 3% to 5% of tooth extractions (Source: Simple Steps).

Dry socket is a painful condition that requires prompt treatment by a dentist or oral surgeon, especially when bare bone is visible. Proper treatment of dry socket usually resolves the pain associated with the condition and promotes healing at the site of tooth extraction.

Seek prompt medical care if you have severe or worsening pain after a tooth extraction, if you see exposed bone at the site of tooth extraction, or if the tissue around the site of extraction is gray and dry. Prompt medical attention can make you more comfortable and prevent more serious complications of dry socket.


What are the symptoms of dry socket?

Symptoms and signs of dry socket include severe pain following tooth extraction, gray-colored tissue around the site of extraction, or lack of a blood clot at the site of extraction.

Common oral symptoms of dry socket

Dry socket symptoms generally occur within a few days of tooth extraction and are usually limited to the oral cavity. Oral symptoms of dry socket may come... Read more about dry socketsymptoms


What causes dry socket?

After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot fills the hole left by the tooth. The normal healing process takes place underneath this clot. In the normal healing process, tissue regrowth replaces the blood clot. In some cases, the clot may come loose or dissolve, which exposes the tooth socket to the environment. In addition to causing severe pain, this exposure can slow down or reverse normal heal... Read more about dry socketcauses


How is dry socket treated?

The treatment of dry socket begins with seeking care from your dentist. Dry socket can be diagnosed by a simple examination by your dentist, who will determine a treatment plan specifically for you.

Medications for treatment of dry socket

Dry socket is typically treated with prescription pain-relieving medication, often in the form of medicated dressings that are applie... Read more about dry sockettreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Mouth, Teeth and Oral Health