HomeDental ProblemsDry socket (Alveolar osteitis) : Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Dry socket (Alveolar osteitis) : Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Dry socket is a post-operative painful condition that occurs after tooth extraction; here we have discussed Dry socket with symptoms, causes, treatment, and preventive measures of Dry socket to make you aware of the condition.

What is a Dry socket?

Dry socket is a condition in which a patient complains of radiating pain from an extraction socket, bad taste, and bad breath 2-3 days after tooth extraction. It is also known as Alveolar osteitis.

The most common location is in the lower jaw, which is the lower 3rd molars or wisdom tooth removal. It is more common in females in comparison to males.


  • Severe pain
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste

These symptoms are commonly seen in patients with a Dry socket.

What are the Causes of Dry socket?

Normally, after the extraction of a tooth, the blood clot forms in the socket, and the tooth socket eventually heals. But if the blood clot does not form in the tooth socket or dislodge from the socket after tooth extraction, your tooth socket won’t heal and bone and nerves remain exposed to the outer environment causing severe pain.

Common factors that cause Dry socket after tooth extraction :

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and Soda or Carbonated drinks
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Use of Oral contraceptives
  • Vigorous Gargling and spitting
  • Traumatic extraction


  • A Tooth socket should be cleaned with Chlorhexidine or Saline. Caution : Use of Chlorhexidine may induce hypersensitivity in some patients, so make sure you’re aware of it.
  • Local anesthetic should be administered if there’s severe pain.
  • Dentist may place Intra-alveolar medication paste loosely in the tooth socket to treat the Dry socket.
  • Keeping proper oral hygiene helps for healing the condition.

When to call your Dentist?

The dry socket heals itself in a few days. However, if there’s severe pain on your site of tooth extraction you should take it into consideration.

You should reach out to your dentist if your pain remains after taking prescribed medicines.

How to Prevent Dry socket?

You can avoid dry socket if you keep following the points given below :

  • Advised to stop smoking and alcohol preoperative and at least 2 weeks postoperatively so it won’t affect the healing process.
  • Avoid hot, spicy, and hard food after extraction at least until the tooth socket heals.
  • Make sure you avoid food that requires too much chewing.
  • Avoid tooth brushing for at least 24 hours after extraction and do it gently after 24 hours.
  • The patient is advised to avoid Vigorous Gargling and spitting for 24 hours, so it won’t affect the healing process.
  • The preoperative plaque level of the patient should be as minimum as possible.
  • Chlorhexidine rinse or gel benefits reduce chances of dry socket after tooth extraction. Caution : Chlorhexidine may induce hypersensitivity in some patients, so make sure you’re aware of it.
  • Antibiotics should be prescribed prior to tooth extraction for patients with a previous history of Ulcerative Gingivitis and Pericoronitis.
Dr. Shubham G. Devaiya, BDS
Dr. Shubham G. Devaiya, BDS
Dr. Shubham G. Devaiya is a registered Dentist and Medical content writer. He owns DentalFord and publishes content related to Oral Health for Oral Health Awareness.



Disclaimer : All the information on the page is for educational purposes only to make you aware, you can’t take it as a substitute for medical advice. If you are facing any health issues it is advised to take direct Medical help from medical professionals immediately.