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A dry socket occurs when the blood clot at the extraction site fails to develop or dissolves before the wound has healed. Some of the most common symptoms of dry socket include severe pain after a tooth extraction, radiating pain from the socket to the ear, eye, temple, or neck, bad breath deriving from the mouth, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

There are a number of factors that may increase your risk of dry socket after a tooth extraction. These include smoking and tobacco use as chemicals may prevent or slow healing and contaminate the site of the wound. Birth control pills with high levels of estrogen may also disrupt the normal healing process. Failure to adhere to home care instructions and current or previous infections around the extracted tooth may also increase dry socket risk.

A dry socket features a whitish bone instead of a dark blood clot. The pain it causes usually begins about two days after the tooth was pulled and become more severe over time. To prevent dry socket after an extraction, your dentist may recommend an antibacterial mouthwash or gel, oral antibiotics, an antiseptic solution, or the application of medicated dressings after the procedure.

If you do have a dry socket, treatment will focus on reducing the severe pain it’s causing. Flushing it out can remove food particles or other debris that may contribute to infection or pain. Medicated dressings and pain medication may also provide fast relief. With these treatments, your pain should continue to improve and completely fade away within a few days.

Contact Costa Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

If you have any questions about a dry socket or believe you have one, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Feel free to call us at 703-757-0833 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!