A dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is the most common potential complication that occurs after a tooth is removed. After removal, a blood clot typically begins to form at the site of extraction. This clot helps to form a protective layer for the bone inside the empty tooth socket, as well as begins to promote healing of the bone and tissue. When this blood clot from the extraction site fails to develop, or is dislodged before the wound has healed, the underlying bone and nerves become highly irritated. This results in extreme pain that can radiate through the entire side of the face, and can begin 1-4 days after the tooth is removed.
- Excruciating pain radiating from extraction site within days of tooth removal
- Empty looking socket resulting from loss of blood clot that may be filled with food or debris
- Bad breath or foul odor
- Unpleasant taste
Treatment: one or more of the following
- Cleaning out the area and application of a medicated dressing and/or stitches
- Antibacterial mouthwash or gel
- Oral antibiotics
Dry sockets are highly preventable so it is important to follow all post-operative instructions provided after surgery. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to contact your dentist because simple over the counter remedies will likely not solve the issue.