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Dry Socket Symptoms

Dry Socket Symptoms

Dry socket is one of the most painful dental conditions known to man. Read this HealthHearty article to know the various symptoms that one needs to look out for so as to identify and treat this condition at the earliest.
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Did You Know?
Dry socket is known to affect only about 2-5% of people after tooth extraction.

Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, is one of the most painful complications that follows an adult tooth extraction. However, it is easily treatable. Normally, a patient is asked to keep a piece of cotton and gauze on the empty socket for at least 30 minutes after his tooth has been extracted, and is asked to avoid spitting or eating and drinking for a while after extraction.
These instructions are an integral part of post-extraction healing, as there is a blood clot that forms in the empty socket to protect the bone and nerves underneath. However, this clot dislodges in some cases and disrupts the healing process, leading to the condition known as 'dry socket'.
To avoid further complications and to reduce the extreme pain, it is best to identify and treat this condition on a priority basis. Given in this article are the most common symptoms of dry socket.
Visible Bone in the Socket
One of the main symptoms is the presence of a dry bony socket at the site of extraction. As there is no blood clot formation, the blood vessels that are supposed to be aiding in healing recede in level to reveal the bone which eventually becomes inflamed and causes severe pain. The socket looks sore, empty, and white in color with a gaping hole.
The excruciating pain this condition gives is the pain that legends are made of! It takes the infamous 'dental pain' to a whole new level. Normally, after an extraction procedure, people do feel slight pain once the effect of the anesthetic begins to wear off. However, this pain is very mild, and is mostly dull and aching in nature. It usually goes away in a day or so.
However, the pain of dry socket usually starts about two days after the extraction procedure. The pain is excruciating, sharp shooting, and throbbing in nature. Normally, there is no swelling accompanying the pain as this condition is not an infection in itself. It is merely an inflammation of the bone lining of the empty socket.
Bad Breath
Another common symptom is bad breath. The loss of blood supply and the presence of a gaping wound is an open invitation to microorganisms. This leads to a bad breath in the mouth. A symptom that is often seen in conjunction with bad breath is a bad taste in the mouth, which may feel metallic.
Other Symptoms
Other symptoms include:
  • Difficulty in eating (especially from the side where the person has had the extraction done)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes in neck that are often tender to touch
  • Presence of food in the mouth
  • Swollen gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Inability to sleep
  • Fever

Sometimes, when there is a dry socket in the upper jaw, there is often radiating pain felt near the eye, which can be very discomforting, and which further adds to the agony of the patient.
There are many treatment options available which should be implemented immediately. The patient will be in sheer agony, and this is a condition that has to be treated on a priority basis. Although dry socket is not an active infection, it is one of the most painful conditions that anyone can ever experience. However, when it comes to dental problems, it cannot be stressed on enough that truly, prevention is better than cure. So whatever tooth extraction aftercare is instructed to you, do follow it religiously, as it is for your own good!
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.