Dry socket is one of the more dreaded complications of tooth extraction. A dry socket is a painful experience that prolongs the recovery period for the patient and can lead to even more severe complications if it is not treated properly. Today we’re going to examine what dry socket is, how it’s treated and (most importantly) how it can be avoided in the first place. 


What Is Dry Socket? 

A socket is the whole in your gums that is left when a tooth is removed. It’s literally a hole in your bone left behind from where the tooth was. Ideally, once the tooth has been removed a blood clot forms over the hole. Dry socket occurs when that blood clot is dislodged, exposing the nerves to air, bacteria and food. 


Symptoms of dry socket include bad breath, excruciating pain and a bad taste in the mouth. Patients can confirm that they have a dry socket by visually inspecting their mouth to see if the blood clot has been dislodged and the socket is exposed. 


How Is Dry Socket Treated? 

Dry socket must be treated by a dentist. The dentist will clean the wound site and apply medication to help kill any bacteria and keep the site clean. After this dental visit the normal recovery rules and dry socket prevention methods should be followed. 


How Can Dry Socket Be Prevented?

The best way to avoid dry socket is to keep the area clean of any food and debris, and avoid straws and smoking for several days. The suction created by smoking or using a straw can easily remove a blood clot, which leads to dry socket. 


As part of your recovery kit your dentist should provide you with a small syringe. That syringe should be used to gently spray water on the wound to keep it clear of any food or debris. It’s imperative to do this after eating any type of food. 


The truth is that sometimes you’ll try your best and dry socket will still happen. If that is the case, just be sure to visit your dentist to get it treated as quickly as possible. Untreated dry socket can lead to an infection which can have devastating consequences. 


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