Alveolar osteitis, or better known as dry socket, is one of the more common complications that can occur after a dental extraction. It most often affects impacted lower third molar extraction sites but can occur after any extraction. For reasons not fully understood, the protective blood clot that normally forms right after the surgery in the extraction site either never forms or breaks down soon after it has formed. This leaves the bone in the tooth socket exposed, resulting in moderate to severe pain at the extraction site. A dry socket is characterized by a sudden increase in pain intensity a few (one to five) days after the extraction.
It is important to watch out for the signs and symptoms of a dry socket post-surgery.
Signs and symptoms can include:
If you are concerned with any unusual symptoms after an extraction, such as a sudden increase in pain, a fever, or swelling, make sure to let your dentist or oral surgeon know. They will work with you to determine the best course of treatment.
In most cases, a dry socket will heal itself after about a week, but it can cause ongoing moderate to severe pain. Your dentist can take steps to help ease the discomfort while the socket heals.
To ease pain and discomfort, your dentist may do one or more of the following:
Factors that can increase your risk of developing dry socket include:
Dry sockets usually last up to one week.
Despite the best efforts of the surgeon and patient, dry sockets can occur. However, there are steps you can take to limit the risk.
To help prevent a dry socket and aid your recovery after a tooth is extracted:
1. Dry Socket. (2022, March 28) from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17731-dry-socket
2. An Overview of Dry Socket. (2022, April 2) from https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dry-socket-symptoms-and-treatment