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Dry Socket

AMBULATORY CARE:

Dry socket

is a painful condition that develops 1 to 3 days after a permanent tooth has been removed. It happens when the blood clot at the site dissolves and exposes your jawbone. Dry socket usually lasts only a few days. You may have a more serious condition if signs and symptoms continue for a week.

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Severe, constant pain that is most intense 3 days after the tooth was removed
  • Swollen, red, and tender gums
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • A bad odor coming from your mouth

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your swelling is so bad that you cannot close or open your mouth.
  • Your signs or symptoms continue longer than 1 week.
  • You have trouble breathing.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You continue to have pain even after you take pain medicine.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may include any of the following:

  • Irrigation is used to clean your dry socket and help remove dead tissue or food. Ask your healthcare provider how to use a syringe to irrigate your dry socket.
  • Packing may be used to cover your exposed bone and prevent irritation and pain. It also keeps food from entering the dry socket.
  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Antibiotics may be prescribed if you have an infection.

Manage or prevent dry socket:

  • Apply ice to your jaw. Ice helps relieve pain and swelling. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Wrap a towel around it before you apply it to your jaw. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or as directed.
  • Rinse with a chlorhexidine mouthwash before and after your tooth removal. Ask your healthcare provider where you can find an oral solution with chlorhexidine.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine in cigarettes and cigars can prevent your blood from clotting properly. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your dentist within 2 days, or as directed:

Your dentist may need to change or take out the packing. He or she will also check to see how your dry socket is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Dry Socket (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes

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