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DRY SOCKET: searching for answers as to what it looks like and feels like?



Junior member
Oct 24, 2016
(dare I speak the name)
This is a post to help anyone freaking out about this. Because, I did freak out about it.

I have spent 6 LONG, EXHAUSTING days (worsening my experience during extraction recovery time) reading up about it, having mild semi 'anxiety attacks', fearing the name (almost), feeling every twinge and ache, pouring over forums and articles about dry socket, and religiously checking my gums with a torch and mirror. I experienced a great deal of throbbing, radiating pain in my cheek, no visible clot upon checking, and pain at the extraction site last night (my fifth night). My hole also resembled the pictures I managed to find on google of dry socket holes. I got myself into such a state about dry socket, knowing that there isn't a 24h dentist nearby; that I convinced myself I had a fever too. And gave my myself weak muscles from the stress of anticipating the potentiality of the excruciating pain described as dry socket. I had a bad taste in my mouth, too. Basically, I ticked all the boxes for dry socket, in theory. Except, my pain had not reached the level of 'excruciating' yet. So I was fearing the pain I thought was on it's way. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat dinner.
When I woke up, I was relieved to feel that the pain was not 'excruciating' yet.
I moved my dental appointment to this morning when I woke up.

In spite of a large gaping hole, no visible clot and pain. MY DENTIST INFORMED ME THAT I DO NOT HAVE DRY SOCKET.

You cannot self-diagnose with this. Every single person heals differently. Some people have more pain a few days after, just because, in the end, it is a healing wound and it is a deep hole. You may even have stitches! It will take time to not be sore anymore.
Anxiety can also intensify your symptoms. Just try to relax. Ice it and take your pain killers on time.
(I actually found that ice was making it feel worse for me, which worried me further because I read that if ice and painkillers don't work 'it is dry socket')
My prescription painkillers have run out, and I am still in pain. But I found that normal over-the-counter ibuprofen helps ease it.

If you are in SERIOUS pain, you are concerned and if you feel something isn't right (you will know), just phone your dentist. If you are worried you may have an infection, go see your dentist the next morning or phone & go into the dental office when you get a free minute today. Again, if it is unbearable and clearly isn't normal, go to the ER. At least you will be a bit more at ease and can get something to help the pain until morning. You shouldn't be charged for a follow up at your dentist - it takes 5 minutes for her/him to check.
DON'T DO THIS TO YOURSELF. Stop reading online. According to what is says online; you probably do tick all the boxes to having it. And, you will convince yourself. If you have it, you are not going to die.

I am not a dentist, I just have experienced this worry. It's not worth it.
If the pain is so bad that you can't cope, it's as simple as going to the ER where they WILL help you until your dentist can fill it.
It is important you get the hole checked for infection. But, stop worrying about dry socket now. Relax.

Thanks for posting this! I just made a post about my symptoms and fear of dry socket, and like you, I've been reading all this stuff online and honestly, its confusing and scary! I went back to the dentist yesterday and he didn't say anything about dry socket. I didn't outright ask but I figure if something was wrong, he would tell me! I'm just going to wait it out I guess..

This is EXACTLY what I needed. All of the things you mentioned, I have precisely done for the past few days. Thank you so much

This is an old thread bump, but thanks for this post. It helped order my thoughts. I haven't gotten my removal scheduled yet but I'll revisit this post to help clear my mind.
Hi. I wanted to post this on here as I know one of the main things people get scared of after an extraction is the dreaded dry socket- it could be the name of a horror film it’s that infamous?
This is my dry socket experience.

I had my tooth extracted on a Wednesday at 12pm, after the numbing began to wear off fully around 4pm I was starting to feel quite a lot of pain, not pain that I have had before after an extraction....it was a throbbing awful pain that didn’t go away after taking paracetamol and codeine tablets. The tooth was very large and difficult to get out, so I just put it down to that. The pain didn’t go away and that night I had such a weird restless night, I couldn't sleep and felt strange.
The following day, the pain was still there and by now I had the most foul foul foul taste in my mouth with lots of thick saliva (I think) being produced- my mouth literally smelled like something had died in there?

I would like to say that at this point dry socket never even entered my mine, as I have read so many times that it doesn’t occur until 3-5 days. However....I have seen Gordon say on here that it usually makes itself known straight after the extraction, which is what I’m sure happened with mine, I just didn’t think it was that as I didn’t think you could get it so soon!

So anyway, after another sleepless night and popping way too many pills than I like to take, I had started to feel sick and shaky, so on Friday I went to my dentist. They confirmed it was dry socket, he cleaned the socket out and packed it with some stuff and said I’d be sorted, didn’t tell me I needed to go back and sent me on my way.

It’s now Monday and obviously I’ve spent the entire weekend panicking waiting for the packing to come out and the pain to kick in....it hasn’t, and I’m fairly confident I’m starting to heal now- albeit slowly as my jaw is still sore etc. My dry socket experience has not been how I’ve read and researched it to be...I’m not sure if I had a mild dry socket? Because I never experienced the pain that you read about- that wanting to die basically pain. But I did have really bad pain straight after the numbing wore off, and if I knew now that it could occur that soon, I would have gone back to the dentist sooner. I hope me sharing this maybe makes someone think about there symptoms and get it checked sooner, and to show that not all dry sockets are as bad as the nightmares you read on the internet ? I’m back at the dentist in a few weeks to start on my fillings, so at least a treatment I don’t need to worry about DS ?