Dry Sockets

What is a Dry socket?

Dry socket is a condition that may develop when a blood clot fails to form in the socket or if the blood clot comes loose. Normally, the blood clot that forms after a tooth is removed promotes healing, laying the foundation for the growth of new bone tissue.


You may not have symptoms until three to five days after the extraction.

The condition will manifest itself as severe pain that doesn’t subside, often accompanied by what feels like an earache. You may also have an unpleasant taste in your mouth and bad breath.


Causes of Dry Socket

Several things can cause the premature loss of a blood clot from an extraction site


-forceful spitting

-sucking through a straw

-coughing or sneezing.

-consuming carbonated or alcoholic beverages after an extraction, as these have also been associated with the development of dry socket.



-Keep your fingers and tongue away from the extraction site.

-Apply an ice pack to your jaw for the first 24 hours following surgery on for 20 minutes, and off for 20 minutes to prevent pain and swelling and stop excessive bleeding.

-Do not rinse your mouth the day of surgery. The next day, you can rinse gently with warm salt water; dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Be sure to rinse and spit gently.  Do not brush the extraction area at all for at least 1 week. 



There is no specific treatment for dry socket, it will heal itself over time.  Pain management is the most important thing. Your dentist may elect to rinse the socket and pack it with a topical anesthetic called dry socket paste to help with discomfort and help form a new blood clot.  You should regularly take any prescribed pain medications and/or over the counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil.  Continue to follow the prevention guidelines to promote healing.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please call our office right away.