Dental implant FAQs

What is a dry socket?

A dry socket is a painful, foul smelling post-operative condition that sometimes develops over the course of the first several days following a tooth extraction

Dry sockets form when a blood clot failed to form in the socket extracted tooth, or else the blood clot that did form became dislodged. Since the formation of a blood clot is a crucially important part of the healing process, which is why your dentist puts a cotton bud in your mouth and tells you to bite on gently. The longer you bite on it the better chance there will be that a blood clot forms.

What are the symptoms of a dry socket?

A dry socket’s symptoms typically include a dull, often throbbing, pain that appears three or four days after the tooth has been extracted. The pain can be moderate to severe. There is often a foul odour or bad taste emanating from the socket.

How likely is it that a person will experience a dry socket? Anyone could have a dry socket after an extraction, and they are unpredictable. For some reason there is a greater chance of a dry socket forming with the extraction of lower wisdom teeth, as opposed to upper ones. The incidence of dry sockets is slightly greater with the surgical removal of impacted wisdom teeth, as opposed to non-surgical extractions. Suturing the gum after an extraction can lessen the chance of a dry socket occurring. The usual incidence is in a small percentage of patients.

What is the treatment for dry sockets?

A dry socket needs to be treated by your dentist. Usually the dentist will place a medicated dressing in the socket that can soothe and moderate the pain. This dressing is usually removed and replaced every 24 hours until the person’s symptoms subside.

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