After A Tooth Extraction

toothsocketTooth extractions are usually easy and quick. Your dentist will give you an injection of a local anesthetic to numb the area and then remove the tooth. Simple, right? In the majority of cases it is that simple, but once in a while there may be a complication, and the most common complication after an extraction is dry socket. Strange name? Not when you learn what it is.  Let’s talk about why you might develop dry socket after a tooth extraction.


For being the most common complication after having a tooth extracted, dry socket is really not that common at all. It only ever develops in two to three percent of people who have had a tooth extracted. However, it is better to be familiar with what it is than to be confused and afraid should it ever happen.

What is Dry Socket?

When your dentist pulls a tooth he or she is removing it from the socket in your jaw bone. The tooth is held in the socket by its roots, gum tissue, and periodontal ligaments. Rather than leaving the open socket at the mercy of the air, bacteria, food, and beverages, nature devised a way to protect the nerves and bone from these and other irritants–by forming a blood clot. This clot of blood provides the foundation for the growth of new bone and tissue and is essential to the healing process. If the blood clot does not form or gets dislodged the socket is now dry, hence the name dry socket. Because the socket is no longer protected it is at risk for infection. It can become painful a few days after the tooth was extracted.

Treatment for Dry Socket

Dry socket is easy to treat. Your dentist will flush it with water to remove any debris that may cause pain or infection, pack it with a medicated dressing, and prescribe aspirin or ibuprofen for pain.  Individuals at risk for dry socket include:

  • Smokers
  • Those with a history of dry socket
  • Individuals with poor oral hygiene
  • Women on birth control pills and individuals on certain other medications


Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, restorative, and family dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you and your family are new or returning patients, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.