How Do I Recognize If I Have Dry Socket?

Symptoms and Risk Factors of Dry Socket

What is dry socket?

It is the most common complication following a tooth extraction procedure. The condition is quite painful and other symptoms may also occur. There are certain factors that increase the risk of this happening after a tooth removal. It is important to consult your dentist. Learn more here.

After a tooth extraction, a blood clot is usually formed at the wound site. The dentist knows that the clot over the wound serves as a shield, protecting the tissue, bone, and nerves therein, otherwise they will be left exposed. Hence, to keep the clot in place, your dentist will ask you to bite on a small gauze pad placed on top. He will instruct you to keep it there in the next one hour at least.

It may happen that a blood clot doesn’t form or the clot gets dislodged, leaving the bone and nerves exposed to the air. After some time the wound would become painful. It is now called a dry socket or alveolar osteitis. You will have to see your dentist for this, a situation that could have been avoidable.

How will you recognize that you may have a dry socket?

Firstly, the wound site becomes painful due to the exposed nerves, the clot that protects the wound is no longer there, some bone is exposed, a foul odor emanates from your mouth, or a bad taste in the mouth.

The most common symptom of pain can run anywhere from right after extraction to several days. While pain is normal after the procedure, it should not worsen.

It is not so clear why it happens to some and not to others, but experts say that certain factors play a role in dry socket. Smoking or chewing tobacco is one. Poor oral hygiene and failure to follow dentist’s instructions that lead to clot dislodgement also contribute. Presence of an infection near the tooth concerned or the surrounding gums increases the risk. Sometimes women who use birth control pills or have ERT are suspect, too. Another risk factor is a history of dry socket.

Dry socket can be avoided with proper care. Though it may be a transient condition, it is quite painful. Seek appropriate treatment when it happens to prevent other complications.


Avoiding Dry Socket Experience in Bellevue

We at Overlake Dental are well aware of the high incidence of complications after tooth extraction. Rest assured that we take all proper precautions and care to ensure safe and effective dentistry.