A dry socket is when the blood clot gets dislodged prematurely or dissolves from the tooth socket. This leaves an open socket or hole that is exposed to food and debris. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain that radiates from the ear to the anterior jaw may occur 3-5 days after surgery. It is also not unusual for there to be a foul odor, or bad taste associated the pain. A dry socket is not an infection, but will require treatment. Dry sockets occur most often in the lower jaw and are usually associated with removal of the molar teeth. Stitches, which are usually placed after the removal of an impacted tooth, do not prevent dry sockets. Women taking birth control pills and smokers are more prone to dry sockets. The symptoms of a dry socket are easily treated with a medicated dressing. Call the office if you believe you are developing a dry socket so we can treat it early and keep you comfortable.

Treatment consists of gentle irrigation of the socket to ensure all food particles are flushed away. Then a medicated dressing is place in the socket. Relief of symptoms usually occurs within the hour. The procedure is repeated in 5 to 7 days. Usually two to three treatment is all that is required. We just want you to be as comfortable as possible during your healing phase.

Dry Socket FAQs

Can I let my dry socket heal on its own?

Although a dry socket may heal on its own, it is best to have it treated to ensure comfort and proper healing. This process includes using a warm saline solution to adequately rinse food particles to ensure the socket is clean.

What’s the best treatment for dry socket?

Treatment involves soothing irrigation of the dry socket to thoroughly rinse away all food particles. Then, we apply a medicated dressing to fill in the socket.

How long does a treated dry socket take to heal?

We recommend two or three treatments, spaced five to seven days apart. This regimen will flush out any loose food particles as the socket heals.

Will a dry socket heal with antibiotics?

There is evidence that antibiotics will reduce the risk of dry socket. You may consider other medications like over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory meds or acetaminophen, which are widely available and safe.


Schedule Your Consultation

Schedule a consultation today to determine your best choices. During a consultation, patients meet with their surgeon and the staff to discuss procedure options in more detail. Patients may ask questions about desired outcome as well as view before and after photos of similar procedures.

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