Dental & Oral Health

Dry Socket - Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment

Written by
Dr. Ruchika Singh
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published on May 22, 2019 and last reviewed on Jul 01, 2019   -  1 min read



Dry socket is a widespread problem that may occur after extraction (removal) of a tooth. Many patients are scared of this condition just after getting their tooth extracted. This article is about the cause, risk factors, and treatment of dry socket.

Dry Socket - Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment

What Exactly Is a Dry Socket?

Sometimes after extraction or removal of teeth, there is throbbing or pinching pain in the region of extraction with a foul smell. This condition is termed as dry socket or alveolar osteitis. It generally occurs two or three days after removal of a tooth.

What Can Cause a Dry Socket?

It occurs due to disintegration or destruction of the clot formed after the extraction or removal of the tooth, which can be due to:

  • Extraction or removal done with a lot of trauma to the surrounding region of tooth, that is the gums and the bone.
  • Because of bacterial contamination in the region of extraction.

Mandibular third molar removal is causes the majority of dry sockets or alveolar osteitis than other teeth in the oral cavity. But, it can occur after extraction or removal of any tooth in the oral cavity.

What Are the Risk Factors for a Dry Socket?

  • Smoking and tobacco consumption: People who have a habit of consuming tobacco directly or through smoking are more prone to dry socket.
  • Poor sterilization and disinfection during extraction: Use of any infected instrument increases the risk of a dry socket or alveolar osteitis.
  • Alveolus infections: The presence of any alveolus infection in tooth socket prior to removal can lead to a dry socket or alveolar osteitis.
  • Thorough spitting after extraction: Vigorous spitting after extraction can cause changes to the clot formed, which may cause a dry socket.

How Is a Dry Socket Detected Clinically?

  • After two or three days of extraction, the patient suffers severe throbbing or pinching pain and foul or unpleasant smell.
  • The affected alveolus is empty or denuded.
  • The bony surface is soft and very sensitive, and is covered with yellowish-grey necrosed tissues.

How Is a Dry Socket Treated?

The patient should consult the dentist immediately. The affected region is cleaned, and a dressing of Zinc Oxide Eugenol is applied and the patient is asked to follow-up after three days.

Last reviewed at:
01 Jul 2019  -  1 min read




Related Questions & Answers

I have pain and bleeding after molar tooth extraction. Please advise.

Query: Hello doctor, Is it normal for a dentist to not prescribe anything for pain after having a broken molar extracted, and three roots pulled out? My tooth was extracted yesterday, still bleeding heavily. I had fever through the day.  Read Full >>

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Answer: Hi, Welcome to First, remove your fear present in your mind. A bone graft present with membrane prevents dry socket formation, and it makes a better environment to have socket healing. Bone graft is not fully utilized in the socket, as it a foreign material. Some amount of graft is re...  Read Full

Why is there severe pain with bad taste after wisdom tooth removal?

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