What is a Dry Socket?

What Is A Dry Socket?

Tooth pain can result from various issues with our dental health. A dentist’s visit isn’t always fun, but we want our dentist to make the pain go away when we experience tooth pain. 

Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan. When an adult tooth is extracted, one of the many possible complications is a dry socket. What is a dry socket? What are some signs that dry socket has developed? How can I prevent a dry socket?

What is a Dry Socket?

After a permanent tooth is removed, the normal process is that a blood clot forms at the extraction site. A dry socket, medically known as alveolar osteitis, is a condition that occurs when that blood clot isn’t present.

The purpose of this blood clot is to:

  1. Serve as a protective layer. When a tooth is extracted, the hole left behind exposes the jawbone and nerves located in your gums.
  2. Provide the foundation needed for the growth of new bone.
  3. Promote the development of soft tissue over the clot.

The dry socket could be due to the blood clot not forming, becoming dislodged, or dissolving ahead of time.

Why Does a Dry Socket Happen?

The percentage of patients that develop can range anywhere from 1% to 15%. Some factors that will increase the odds of developing a dry socket are:


  • Type of extraction. When an adult tooth is extracted surgically, the probability of a dry socket y higher than a non-surgical extraction.
  • Patient habits. Smoking, chewing tobacco, or using birth control pills may increase your chances of developing a dry socket.
  • Post extraction routine. In some cases, not following post-care instructions and using a straw to drink may result in a dry socket.

Signs That a Dry Socket Has Developed

The most obvious sign that a dry socket has developed is that you don’t see a blood clot at the extraction site. Typically, you will notice a sort of reddish bubble where the adult tooth once was. If this is not the case, then you probably have a dry socket.

You may have only lost part of the blood clot, so it may not seem that you have a dry socket. But another symptom you will experience is severe pain. The pain will begin within a few days of the tooth extraction and can radiate out towards your ear, eye, temple, or neck on the same side of your face as the extraction.

Other symptoms include:

  • Jawbone visibility
  • Bad breath
  • Nasty taste in your mouth

How Can I Prevent a Dry Socket?

After any tooth extraction, your dentist will provide instructions for the days following the extraction. You must follow these instructions, which will include:

  • Rest. Avoid any rigorous activity for a couple of days to avoid exerting any unnecessary force that can dislodge the blood clot.
  • Eating habits. Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, and hot beverages, and don’t use a straw. Eat only soft foods and avoid chewing on the side of the extraction.
  • Dental Care. Follow any instructions given to avoid poor hygiene that can lead to infections.

Are You Experiencing Tooth Pain?

Experiencing some pain after tooth extractions may be expected, but any severe pain shouldn’t develop. Put your smile in the capable hands of the team at Dental Of Clementon, your local dentist in Clementon, New Jersey.

Request Your Free Consultation Today

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