Dry socket... What's that?

By Dr. Bird on October 04, 2012

What is a dry socket?

Following the extraction of a tooth, a protective blood clot forms to protect and heal the socket where the tooth was extracted. Occasionally, this protective blood clot can be dislodged or dissolved causing the area to become inflammed, sensitive and causing throbbing pain. This condition is not an infection.

 

What causes the protective clot to dislodge or dissolve? Smoking, drinking through a straw, drinking carbonated beverages and the use of birth control pills. In some cases, the body just doesn't like the clot there and throws it off. Some people are prone to dry sockets, although no one knows why. 

 

What is the treatment for a dry socket? A special medicated gauze is placed into the socket. The medication makes its way into the inflamed socket and relief is usually achieved within 1 to 2 hours. 

 

How long does a dry socket last? Typically dry sockets are medicated 3 to 5 times and the body will heal itself. Patients with dry sockets should keep all post-operative appointments to aid in healing. 

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