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Dry Socket - A Post-Extraction Complication

Published on Apr 28, 2015 and last reviewed on Dec 16, 2021   -  5 min read


A dry socket, otherwise called alveolar osteitis, is a painful condition when the blood clot for an extraction socket gets dislodged. Read about the causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Dry Socket - A  Post-Extraction Complication

What Is a Dry Socket?

A dry socket is a painful dental condition that occurs after permanent tooth extraction. It can be caused due to improper care of the extraction socket, which leads to dislodgement of blood clots from the extraction socket.

How Prevalent Is Dry Socket?

Dry socket is the most common complication that occurs after tooth removal. A study revealed that about 40 people out of the 2,218 observed to experience some degree of dry socket. The method of tooth extraction determines how likely a patient can experience a dry socket. A dry socket is more likely to develop after your wisdom teeth are removed, but this is also very rare.

Why Does a Dry Socket Occur?

The socket is the area in the jaw bone where the tooth is used to be. When a tooth is removed from its socket, a blood clot is usually formed in the socket. This blood clot that is formed will protect the bone and the nerves. But if the blood clot is displaced or dissolves before the wound has healed or does not form properly, the bone and nerve may remain exposed and cause pain.

What Are the Risk Factors Associated With Dry Sockets?

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Socket?

How to Diagnose Dry Sockets?

  1. Worsening Pain: Severe pain following the extraction is a sign of a dry socket. It is usually felt on the same side as the tooth extraction site. The pain may spread from the extraction site to the ear, eye, temple region, or neck. Therefore, diagnosis is usually symptomatic. This pain may develop within three days of tooth extraction but can occur at any time.

  2. Physical Examination: The dentist will also examine the oral cavity to check if there is any blood clot in the tooth socket or an exposed bone.

  3. X-ray: They are usually done to rule out other conditions like bone infections, the presence of small bone fragments embedded in the wound, or osteomyelitis following tooth removal.

When Should You Visit a Doctor for a Dry Socket?

Some degree of pain and discomfort can usually happen after tooth extraction, and it should be relieved with the pain reliever prescribed by your dentist or an oral surgeon with time. But if you develop new or worsening pain in the days after your tooth extraction, consult your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.

What Are the Methods to Treat Dry Socket?

Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF):

Treating dry socket with platelet rich fibrin has great efficacy. PRF has reduced pain on the first day in all patients even with minimal analgesic intake. Pain was drastically decreased during follow-up on the first, second, third, and seventh days. No patients have had allergic reactions to PRF, because it is derived from the patient's own blood. It also showed good wound healing.

Healing Time Required for a Dry Socket:

How to Prevent Dry Socket After Tooth Extraction?

What Are the Complications of Dry Sockets?

Dry socket, if not treated for a prolonged period it may lead to:

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Last reviewed at:
16 Dec 2021  -  5 min read




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