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What Is A Dry Socket?

What is a dry socket?

You may have heard of people having a painful “Dry Socket” after a tooth extraction. If you have not had one, you are probably wondering, what is a dry socket?

It is really exactly what is sounds like. After you get a tooth removed , a blood clot forms where the tooth was, which is referred to as a socket.

The clot forms and it there to help with healing. It protects the bone until the body forms tissue over the bone to protect it.

A dry socket just means that the blood clot either loosens and comes off the area, or does not form right or breaks down. What happens then is the bone the tooth was in is exposed to air and food and causes pain. (Often along with a bad taste and odor.)

It is not an infection, but is miserably painful.

How Common is a Dry Socket?

Dry sockets are more likely to occur in lower teeth. For normal tooth extractions, the chance of getting a dry socket is 3-4%.  However, in more complex surgical extractions, like a lower impacted wisdom tooth, the likelihood can be as much as 35-45%.

A dry socket is the most common complication people have after a wisdom tooth extraction.

When Does A Dry Socket Usually Happen?

Most dry sockets occur within a week after getting a tooth pulled. The pain subsides normally for a few days but then all of the sudden, it intensifies. The p

ain is usually the worst around the 3rd day after surgery. If the extraction pain significantly increases around days 3-5 you probably have a dry socket. You might also notice a bad smell coming from the extraction site. 

What Causes a Dry Socket?

Dry sockets are more common after difficult extractions. Smoking can also greatly increase the likelihood. Anything that creates a suction in your mouth will increase your change of getting a dry socket. As will being too vigorous around the site.

How Do You Treat a Dry Socket?

Dry sockets don’t respond all that well to oral pain medication. They best thing to do is to go back into your dentist and let them treat it.

They will put a special dressing on it to treat the pain and speed healing.  The packing medicament is made of clove oil and is very soothing to the exposed bone. This medicated packing will sooth the bone and making you feel better instantly.

You’ll have to go back into your dentist in 2-3 days so that the packing can be either removed or changed, depending on how it is healing.

No Need to Live With a Painful Dry Socket

We have patients often ask, what is a dry socket? They’ve heard of it but are not quite sure what it is. It’s important to identify if you have one, because they can so easily and quickly be treat by your dentist.

Dry Socket pain is a very distinct type of pain. If you have had a tooth pulled and the pain suddenly increases, a dry socket is likely the cause. So definitely call your dentist’s office immediately if you think you might have one.

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