Avoiding the incidence of dry socket following a dental extraction requires the patient to avoid smoking before and after the extraction, get plenty of rest following the procedure, avoid the use of straws, eat soft foods and clean the mouth as instructed by the dentist. The dentist can also prescribe special medications, such as antibiotics, to make the occurrence of a dry socket less likely, according to Mayo Clinic.
Dry socket is a common complication that arises in around 2 to 5 percent of people following a dental extraction, according to WebMD. The socket is the hole in the jaw bone from where the tooth was removed. Normally, a blood clot forms over this hole following extraction. This blood clot works to protect the nerves and bone below, but when the clot becomes dislodged or dissolves, the bone and nerves are exposed to fluid, food and air. Infection can result, and severe pain that radiates into the ear can accompany the infection for up to six days.
According to WebMD, those who smoke, use birth control pills, have wisdom teeth pulled or have poor oral hygiene are more susceptible to the development of dry socket. Dry socket is generally treated using antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, although severe pain may require a stronger type of pain medication.