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Dry Socket Symptoms and Treatments

Posted on 5/9/2022 by Dr. Michael Wockenfus
Dry Socket Symptoms and TreatmentsA dry socket is a possible consequence of tooth extraction, including wisdom tooth removal, that happens when the blood clot is evacuated from the extraction site too quickly. Pain from a dry socket may spread to the jaw and/or ear. You could also have poor breath. A dry socket is more likely to develop within the first two or three days after a tooth extraction. After four days, this danger is no longer existent. Dry socket pain can be managed at home and may disappear on its own within a few days. Severe dry sockets, which commonly occur during tooth extraction, should be addressed by your dentist.

What is Dry Socket?

When a blood clot that forms after a tooth extraction falls out too early, it produces a painful condition called a dry socket. Losing the clot causes the underlying bone to be exposed and results in intense pain. An example of this would be drinking through a straw or vigorously rinsing with mouthwash after creating a sucking motion. As a result of the extraction of a tooth, a blood clot forms in the hole in the jawbone left behind. Once the tooth has been extracted, there is an empty hole in the jawbone that quickly fills with blood and forms a blood clot within 24 hours. A blood clot prevents bleeding at the site of extraction and promotes bone healing. When the blood clot is removed too soon, before the bone heals, a dry socket occurs. It is possible that the blood clot will be jostled free within the first few hours or days following the extraction. The bone then becomes completely exposed without a blood clot. When exposed, a large amount of pain radiates up and down the face as well as when drinking cold water or breathing in cold air.

Symptoms and Treatments

A dry socket is characterized by excessive bleeding, discomfort when exposed to cool air or water, a terrible taste in your mouth, headaches, dizziness, sleeplessness, infection, and fever. Dry sockets that get infected might result in "lockjaw," a disease that develops 10-40 days after the blood clot has been gone. Dry sockets should be treated by your dentist. The intensity of your discomfort and the health of your underlying bone will determine your dry socket therapy. Dental cleaning, medicated dressing, bone graft material, surgical foam, or prescription pain medications can all be used to treat a dry socket.

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Michael J. Wockenfus, DDS created a blog to educate the community. It is your resource for all dentistry questions. Learn and read topics in the blog here!
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