Dry Socket

Simply put, dry socket is a dental condition that arises following the removal of a tooth. The formation of a blood clot usually occurs after extraction to protect underlying nerves within the socket as part of the healing process. Dry socket happens when the clot becomes dislodged or disintegrates, causing great pain to the individual as the nerves are then exposed.

Dry socket condition affects around 5% of the world's population following dental extraction.

Why does a dry socket form?

There are a number of factors that can cause dry socket to occur including:

  • Smoking - raises risk of dry socket as blood clotting function is impacted.
  • Excessive rinsing - following a dental extraction, the pressure of the fluid may disrupt the blood clot causing dislodgement or disintegration.
  • Unknown - Sometimes dry socket occurs and no cause can be identified.

Can it be treated?

Dry socket is a very painful experience but it is not life-threatening. The condition may be treated by a dentist who places a medicated dressing in the socket that seals the area, therefore relieving discomfort and healing the extraction site. To prevent infection, antibiotics may be provided and temporary pain-relief will be administered.

What does it involve?

The treatment involves inserting a medicated dressing within the socket after dental extraction. This dressing seals the socket and the medication soothes and promotes healing of the area. Once treated, pain should reduce.

What if I don't have the treatment?

Not receiving any treatment for dry socket is a choice. The socket may self-heal over time but during this period the pain experienced will be intense and is likely to affect well-being.


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