A dry socket is usually treated by a dentist or oral surgeon, who places special medicated gauze in the socket and prescribes an antibiotic. Pain medication may also be recommended. Dry socket is a painful inflammation in the open tooth socket following a tooth extraction.
Dry socket may also develop if a blood clot at the site of the surgery dislodges or disintegrates. The pain can be severe and radiate up to the ear, and may last for several days.
Dry sockets can be prevented by not smoking or sucking through straws, rinsing the mouth or disturbing the socket area for at least 24 hours. Additionally, the gauze should be changed as it becomes saturated with blood.
Women are more susceptible to dry sockets than men. Women who take birth control pills are even more likely to get dry sockets, a condition which may be linked to the estrogen in birth control pills. A woman taking birth control pills should schedule tooth extractions during the last days of her menstrual cycle (days 23 through 28), as dry sockets occur less frequently in women during this time.
If pain persists several days after tooth extraction surgery and it is not known if the cause is a dry socket, contact the dentist or oral surgeon who performed the extraction.