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What are some home remedies for dry socket?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 18, 2023.

Official answer


If you wish to treat dry socket at home, it is important that you have a curved tip irrigation syringe so that you can gently flush out any food or debris trapped in the socket that will prevent healing. A water flosser is not suitable to use to irrigate the area because the stream of water it provides is too powerful and this can dislodge any remaining clot or irritate the area further. You can also take some over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), or ibuprofen (Advil).

Gargling with warm salt water (½ teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water) at least three times a day will also help. Honey has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing properties and research has shown that a dollop of raw honey placed on a piece of gauze and placed over the socket every few hours reduced pain and discomfort. A black tea bag that has been immersed in hot water, allowed to cool, then squeezed before placing over the dry socket area for 15 minutes at a time reduces swelling, pain, and acts as an antibacterial agent.

Dry socket is a condition that commonly develops in lower teeth after a tooth extraction, such as wisdom teeth extraction. After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms over the top of the extraction site to protect it during healing. Sometimes, this clot is accidentally dislodged before the socket heals which exposes the sensitive gum and bone tissue to air, foods, and foreign objects, which can lead to pain or sensitivity. Dry socket will heal on its own in most cases, but professional help from a dentist can speed up the healing process, lessen pain and discomfort, and reduce the risk of infection.

  • Singh V, Pal US, Singh R, Soni N. Honey a sweet approach to alveolar osteitis: A study. Natl J Maxillofac Surg. 2014;5(1):31-34. doi:10.4103/0975-5950.140166Pain that radiates up the ear, head, or neck as well as in the mouth
  • Irrigation instructions after wisdom tooth surgery. 2021
  • Assessing your smile for dry socket following tooth extraction. Oct 17, 2017.

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