Dry Sockets After Wisdom Teeth Removal: An Overview

young woman at dentist clinic office having her wisdom tooth removed

If you’re scheduled for oral surgery to extract your wisdom teeth in West Jordan, it important to understand your risks for a dry socket. Utah Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center tells us more.

What is a dry socket?

A dry socket, medically known as alveolar osteitis is a painful condition that happens following the removal of permanent tooth extraction. Normally, a blood clot forms in the socket after extraction. This clot acts as a protective layer for the bone and nerves underneath in the empty socket.

The clot also acts as a foundation for the formation of a new bone and growth of soft tissue over the clot. Dry socket happens when either the clot fails to develop or either dissolves or dislodges before the wound heals.

Why is it so painful?

Failure for the clot to develop means exposure of the underlying nerves and bone which results in severe pain. The bone is now exposed to air fluid, food and anything else entering the mouth.

The socket is also exposed to infection, and if any debris occupies the space, the pain becomes even worse. Intense pain can last for up to 6 days. If you experience pain three days after a wisdom tooth extraction, talk to your dentist immediately.

Signs and symptoms of a dry socket may include:

  • Intense pain a few days after extraction
  • Either partial or total loss of the blot clot at the socket after extraction (you’ll see an empty-looking area)
  • Pain radiating from the socket to the ears, eyes or temple
  • Bad odor coming from your mouth
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth

Who is likely to get dry socket?

Some people are more likely to get a dry socket including people who:

  • Have poor oral hygiene practices
  • Smoke
  • Experience more-than-usual trauma during wisdom tooth extraction
  • Use birth control pills
  • Have a history of dry socket

How can one prevent it?

To avoid getting a dry socket, practice proper oral hygiene, don’t smoke, and rinse your mouth with saline water after meals. Since in some cases the dry socket is due to factors you can’t prevent, if you happen to develop this condition, talk to your dental surgeon immediately.

After a wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist should take you through what to expect during the healing process. They should also give how aftercare tips to avoid a dry socket. Make sure you talk to your doctor about any other medication or supplements you’re taking; some of these prevent clotting.