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Do I have dry socket?



Staff member
Jan 1, 2005
The characteristics of dry sockets are:

1) Severe pain, usually with pain starting to get worse 2 to 4 days after the tooth has been removed

2) A foul smell or bad taste coming from the extraction site

3) A tooth socket that appears to be empty, with gum tissue immediately around the extraction site showing signs of being inflamed (red, tender, puffy). Exposed bone may be visible and extremely painful and sensitive to touch. A whitish/yellowish/greenish film does NOT indicate dry socket.

Dry sockets are much more likely with lower tooth extractions than upper ones, and much more likely after surgical extractions (like removing impacted wisdom teeth) than routine extractions. For routine extractions, the chances of experiencing a dry socket are about 1 to 4%.

For treatment, see your dentist - they can provide rapid pain relief by applying a medicated dressing. This may need to be changed on a regular basis.
If I may add one more distinguishing feature for a dry socket: pain killers do not reduce the pain. If you had an extraction and any pain killer helps to lessen the pain, that is not a dry socket.
I had a dry socket once. I was lucky OTC pain meds worked. It took but a few days for the pain to subside. if you can eat super soft foods like applesauce for 3 or 4 day after extraction you should be ok even if you lose the clot
Here is a video I made about the dry socket issue.
Complications after a tooth extraction- a dry socket