Dry Socket

Only a very small percentage — about 2% to 5% of people — develop dry socket after a tooth extraction. In those who have it, though, dry socket can be uncomfortable. Fortunately, it’s easily treatable. The socket is the hole in the bone where the tooth has been removed. After a tooth is pulled, a blood clot forms in the socket to protect the bone and nerves underneath. Sometimes that clot can become dislodged or dissolve a couple of days after the extraction. That leaves the bone and nerve exposed to air, food, fluid, and anything else that enters the mouth. This can lead to infection and severe pain that can last for 5 or 6 days. Some people may be more likely to get dry socket after having a tooth pulled. That includes people who:

  • Smoke
  • Have poor oral hygiene
  • Have wisdom teeth pulled
  • Have greater-than-usual trauma during the tooth extraction surgery
  • Use birth control pills
  • Have a history of dry socket after having teeth pulled

Rinsing and spitting a lot or drinking through a straw after having a tooth extracted also can raise your risk of getting dry socket.