How to Avoid the Dreaded Dry Socket

If you have recently had a tooth removed you will need to carefully follow your homecare instructions to heal your mouth properly. Otherwise you run the risk of a condition known as a dry socket.

What is Dry Socket?

Dry socket is the most common complication that occurs after having a tooth removed. It is caused when the blood clot is dislodged from the site of extraction. The clot is important to the healing process as it protects the bone and nerve endings while allowing new tissue and bone to grow as the affected area heals.

How do I know if I have dry socket?

The symptoms of dry socket include:

  • severe pain 2-3 days after the tooth removal
  • pain moving up and down your neck and into your ear
  • over the counter pain medication doesn’t stop the pain
  • bad breath
  • bad taste in your mouth
  • spasms in the jaw
  • loss of clot at the tooth removal site
  • swollen lymph nodes
To reduce the chances of getting dry socket, avoid smoking, drinking through a straw, excessive mouth rinsing, and keep food away from the area of tooth removal. Be sure to chew on the other side of your mouth and gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water after the first 24 hours.


If you have dry socket there are a number of things we can do to treat you at our office. Some of the treatments we will use are: applying medication to site, gauze with medication, applying a topical anesthetic, and additional home care instructions.

Be sure to follow your homecare instructions after having a tooth removed and you will be smiling again in no time!

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