dry socket symptoms

Dry Socket Causes and Symptoms

Dry socket is an emergency dental condition that can sometimes occur following a tooth extraction. The cause of dry socket is usually loss of the blood clot that closes the wound. Symptoms of dry socket are severe shooting pains at the extraction site, one to three days after the tooth was pulled. If you are experiencing pain from a tooth extraction, please contact us right away and we’ll take care of you. At Sunrise Dental in Peoria, Arizona, we do our best to see patients with a dental emergency the same day that they call.

What is Dry Socket?

Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, is a complication that can develop following a tooth extraction. Normally, after a tooth extraction, a blood clot forms in the area where the root(s) of the tooth used to be. The blood clot is the first stage in the healing process.  If a blood clot fails to develop, or if it dislodges from the extraction site before the wound has healed, the resulting condition is called dry socket. 

Causes of Dry Socket

The cause of a dry socket is the premature loss of the blood clot. Losing the blood clot exposes the bone and nerve endings in the socket. A dry socket is more common after a difficult extraction, such as an impacted wisdom tooth. Risk factors for dry socket include smoking, drinking through a straw, history of dry socket, being on a blood thinner, diabetes or other poor healers and other co-existing tooth or gum infections. High estrogen levels can also be a risk factor—you should inform your dentist if you are taking oral contraceptives or other hormone pills before an extraction surgery.

Symptoms of Dry Socket

Symptoms of dry socket usually begin one to three days following an extraction. The main symptom is severe pain, particularly pain that shoots from the socket to your temple, ear, eye, or neck. Exposure of the nerves and bone is intensely painful.  Other symptoms include:

  • Partial or total loss of the blood clot
  • Visible bone
  • Bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth 

If you are experiencing severe pain, call your dentist right away for an assessment.

Contact Us

At Sunrise Dental we will always do our best to offer you a same-day appointment for dental emergencies. If you’re in pain, have a broken tooth, swelling, or an abscess, please call or text us at 623-487-4870. We will get you in for an examination and treatment as soon as possible.


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