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Dental disorders guide: Dry Socket

Dry socket

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What is a dry socket?

A dry socket occurs when the blood clot in an extraction socket disintegrates and stops the natural healing process.  It happens in about 5% of extractions.


Why does a dry socket form?

Some things are known to damage the blood clot such as excessive rinsing out and smoking.  Other dry sockets occur for no obvious reason.


Can it be treated?

This very painful but not serious condition can be treated by placing a pain relieving dressing in the socket.  Antibiotics are not usually needed.


What does it involve?

The aim of the treatment is to relieve pain and enable the wound to heal.


What if I don’t have the treatment?

The socket will eventually heal without treatment but will be very painful.


What about aftercare?

The dressing placed in the socket usually dissolves away by itself.



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