Dental Problems

Dry Socket -What is Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a common complication that occurs after tooth extraction. It is formally referred as alveolar osteitis by dentists. The term alveolarĀ refers to the alveolus, the part of the jawbone that surrounds the teeth, and osteitusĀ refers to inflammation of bone. In this article, we shall know more about dry socket.

The Mechanism

Dry socket is formed when the blood clot formed in the tooth’s surface is not properly retained after the extraction. After a tooth is pulled, a clot is formed in the socket to protect the bone and nerves underneath. This clot either disintegrates or becomes dislodged. That leaves the nerve and bone exposed to air, food and anything that enters the mouth. This leads to infection and severe pain.

Since blood clot is an important factor in protecting the bony socket and for the healing process, the healing of the extraction site becomes delayed.

Who can get dry socket

Some factors contribute to formation of dry sockets and some people are more likey to develop it after getting their teeth extracted. They include people who

  • Smoke
  • Have their wisdom teeth pulled
  • Have poor oral hygiene
  • Use birth control pills
  • Got more injured during the tooth extraction than normal
  • Have a history of dry socket

Spitting a lot, rinsing and drinking through a straw after a tooth extraction can increase the risk of getting dry socket.

Symptoms of Dry Socket

If you see at the site of the socket, it looks really dry. Instead of a blood clot, you can see bone. The pain at the site starts about 2 days after the extraction. Slowly, over time the pain becomes more severe and radiates to ear. Other symptoms include:

  • Grayish slough
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant smell and taste in mouth


The foul smell is characteristic of dry socket. It is a result of the disintegration of the blood clot at the site by the process of putrefaction.

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