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 and go or may be continuous. These symptoms include:

  • Bad breath or foul odor in the mouth
  • Bleeding from the site of extraction
  • Bone visible inside the site of extraction
  • Dental abscess
  • Gray or dead-looking tissue surrounding the extraction site
  • Pain at the extraction site
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth

Other common symptoms of dry socket

Left untreated, dry socket can result in more serious symptoms outside of the mouth. These symptoms include:

  • Earache
  • Pain in other parts of your head and face on the same side as the tooth extraction
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Left untreated, dry socket can lead to a serious or life-threatening infection. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea, which may be described as feelings of wooziness, queasiness, retching, sea-sickness, car-sickness, or an upset stomach
  • Severe swelling of the jaw
  • Vomiting

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 disc... Read more about dry socketintroduction


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