How to Prevent Dry Socket after Tooth Extraction


Around 85% of people will undergo wisdom tooth extraction at some point in their life, whilst others may need to have teeth extracted due to infection, damage or decay which is beyond repair. A small number of patients may develop dry socket (alveolar osteitis), which can be painful and may lead to poor or delayed healing. In this blog post, Central Brunswick Dental Care will be sharing some insight into this condition, along with some helpful tips for reducing your risk.

Why does Dry Socket Occur?

After a tooth extraction, blood clots begin to form at the extraction site to provide protection to the exposed bone and nerve and promote healing. A small number of people may fail to develop a blood clot, whilst others may accidentally dislodge the blood clot during routine brushing or from other functions. It is important to note that the healing process takes around 7-10 days, and during this time you will need to follow the advice of your dentist in order to avoid any complications.

It is normal to experience some pain and discomfort following a tooth extraction procedure, but if pain is severe or you notice a throbbing sensation then you should book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible as these are common symptoms of dry socket.

Dry Socket Symptoms to Be Aware Of

People with dry socket may notice the following symptoms

  • Acute pain at the extraction site
  • Throbbing sensation
  • Radiating pain affecting the neck, eyes, ears, head or mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Astringent taste within the mouth which does not go away after brushing/flossing
  • The blood clot has been dislodged, exposing visible bone at the extraction site

Risk Factors for Dry Socket

There are several lifestyle factors which are known to increase the risk of experiencing dry socket. These include tobacco use/smoking, use of birth control, insufficient oral hygiene and the use of some types of prescription medications known to inhibit blood clotting.

The loss of blood clots can also occur as a result of trauma, whether it be a blow to the mouth or accidentally hitting the extraction site with the head of your toothbrush. Other possible causes can include vigorous rinsing and movement of the muscles around the extraction site.

Tips for Preventing Dry Socket

Oral antibiotics may be provided by your oral surgeon following tooth extraction. The following can also help lower your risk of dry socket:

  • Avoid using a straw when drinking
  • Refrain from smoking for a minimum of 72 hours
  • In the 24 hours immediately after extraction, avoid spitting and rinsing
  • Eat soft foods only during the recovery period
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and mouthwash

Dental Treatment for Dry Socket

Only around 1 in 20 people experience dry socket, but if you suspect you may have dry socket you should book an appointment with your dentist immediately. Dry socket cannot be treated at home. Your dentist will perform a thorough clean of the wound before applying a sedative dressing to the extraction site. The area must be kept clean throughout the healing process. You may also be given a prescription for pain relief medication.

Book an Appointment at Central Brunswick Dental Care Today

If you have any concerns about your wisdom teeth, or if you’ve recently had a tooth extraction and are concerned you may be experiencing dry socket, please contact Central Brunswick Dental Centre today. Call (07) 3216 1100 or email to make an appointment.