The facts about dry socket

Dry socket is a condition that can occur within a few days of having a tooth removed and causes intense pain due to the nerves and bones in the gum being exposed.

It is normal to feel sore or uncomfortable after pulling a tooth. However, the pain with dry socket can be intense. This pain can occur within a few days after a tooth extraction and occurs more often with wisdom teeth than with other teeth.

Following a tooth extraction, a blood clot usually develops over the extraction site protecting the area underneath. When this clot fails to form, or dislodges before the wound heals, dry socket can occur. You may notice an empty-looking (dry) socket or visible bone in the socket. Should food particles enter the socket, pain can be exacerbated, the risk of infection increased and healing slowed down.

If you have severe pain after a tooth extraction, see your dentist who can treat the condition to reduce the pain and prevent complications, such as infection. Normally this treatment entails flushing out any food particles stuck in the socket and placing a medicated dressing in the socket.

It is unlikely that dry socket will occur if symptoms do not appear within a few days of the extraction. With treatment, dry socket typically only lasts a few days.

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