Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Dry Socket

Font Size

Topic Overview

Dry socket is a painful inflammation that can develop in the open tooth socket of the jawbone after a tooth has been removed (extracted). Dry sockets often develop after an extraction and are more common after extraction of third molars (wisdom teeth).1

Dry socket develops when the blood clot at the site of surgery disintegrates or is dislodged. This condition can cause severe pain extending up to the ear. The socket may smell bad. The pain from a dry socket may last for several days.

Recommended Related to Oral Health

Can My Diet Help My Smile?

Q: I know coffee stains my teeth, but are there any foods that will help keep them looking white and healthy?  A: Regular brushing and flossing are your best bets for keeping your teeth healthy. But yes, certain foods can keep your smile looking bright by contributing to your overall oral health. For instance, foods that increase saliva production help wash food off your teeth as well as neutralize the acids produced by foods as you chew them -- acids that can erode tooth enamel and contribute...

Read the Can My Diet Help My Smile? article > >

Women tend to get dry socket more than men. And women who take birth control pills are twice as likely to get dry socket. This may be linked to the hormone estrogen. Women who take birth control pills and who decide to have their wisdom teeth removed should try to schedule the surgery for the end of their menstrual cycle (usually days 23 through 28). There seems to be less risk of dry socket during this time.2

Dry socket usually is treated by a dentist or oral surgeon, who may place a special medicated gauze or paste into the socket and prescribe an antibiotic. He or she may also have you take pain medicine.

To prevent a dry socket, be sure to follow your dentist's instructions, which may include the following:

  • Do not smoke or suck through straws.
  • Do not rinse your mouth or disturb the socket area for at least 24 hours.
  • Change cotton gauzes over the socket as they become soaked with blood.

Call your dentist or oral surgeon if it's a few days after your surgery and you have severe pain around the area where your tooth was removed.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Hot Topics

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Can you catch one?
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
mosquito
Stings, bites, burns, and more.
Allentown, PA
Are you living in one?
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.