Dry socket signs and symptoms

What is a dry socket? 

Alveolar osteitis, or dry socket, is one of the most common complications that can occur after a dental extraction. A dry socket occurs when the protective blood clot that normally forms in the extraction site after surgery fails to form or breaks down soon after it has formed, which exposes the bone and nerves and can result in significant pain. Dry sockets can occur after any extraction but are most common after extraction of lower third molars (wisdom teeth).

How do I know if I have a dry socket? 

A dry socket is characterized by a sudden increase in pain intensity one to five days after the extraction. If you have recently had a tooth extracted and are experiencing sudden severe pain or swelling several days after the extraction, then you may have a dry socket. Continue reading to discover more dry socket signs and symptoms.

What are dry socket symptoms?

Some pain is to be expected after any tooth extraction, but if you are experiencing some of the following symptoms, then call your dentist or oral surgeon. They can provide appropriate care to ensure proper healing and pain relief. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain that suddenly gets worse a couple of days post-surgery
  • Severe pain
  • Pain that spreads to your temple, ear, eye, or neck on the same side as the extraction site
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • High temperature
  • Swollen face or jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Loss of the blood clot in the socket, making it look empty

Can a dry socket heal on its own?

Yes, a dry socket can heal on its own, but you will experience pain and discomfort at the site for longer than is necessary. Seeing your oral surgeon or dentist can help relieve the pain and speed up the healing process.


1. Dry Socket. (18, July 2023) from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-socket/symptoms-causes/syc-20354376 

2.  Dry socket. (3, February 2023.) from www.mouthhealthy.org/all-topics-a-z/dry-socket

3. Dry socket. (28, March 2022.) from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17731-dry-socket 

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