7 Symptoms of Dry Socket, What Causes It and How to Prevent

A dry socket is a painful condition that can be caused by poor oral hygiene and tooth extraction. It’s important to know what the symptoms are, as well as how it happens and how you can prevent it.

Signs of dry socket include fever, headache, loss of appetite, pain when chewing or swallowing food, sensitivity to light and sound as well as sinus congestion. It’s important to seek treatment immediately after signs arise for the best chance at recovery. 

For more information on how we can help you prevent dry socket from happening in the first place or treating it if it does happen please contact us today!

The symptoms of dry sockets include pain in the mouth or throat, difficulty chewing food because of discomfort, fever, and swelling in the region where teeth were removed. There can also be an intense feeling of pressure on the bottom lip or cheekbone area following surgery.

This is often caused by post-surgery bleeding not being properly managed and draining down into your sinuses through cracks near your wisdom teeth. The cracked bone becomes exposed to air when you chew or talk which leads to severe infection with pus forming around it (dry socket).

1. What is a dry socket?

A dry socket is a condition that occurs when the blood clot that forms in your mouth after tooth extraction fails to heal. This usually starts with post-surgery bleeding not being properly managed and draining down into your sinuses through cracks near your wisdom teeth, or where roots of other teeth were removed.

2. Signs and symptoms of dry socket

A dry socket is when bone or a piece of tooth’s root remains in the socket after the tooth has been removed. Signs and symptoms of dental dry socket often include the following:

  • intense throbbing pain
  • Swelling around the area where a tooth was removed 
  • Redness of tissue 
  • Fever (restricting fluids may be necessary to prevent endocarditis) 
  • Drainage or pus from the extraction site can have an unpleasant odor; while this does not necessarily mean you have a dry socket, it could indicate an infection. Infection can lead to other complications such as swelling and inflammation around the mouth, nose, chest cavity, or lungs which might require additional treatment.

3. How to prevent dry socket

In the event of tooth extraction follow these guidelines during the first 72 hours: 

  • Take prescribed antibiotics at recommended dosages as directed by your Dental Specialist
  • Rinse mouth for 5-10 seconds with 10 ml (1/4 ounce) of saline at least 3 times per day. Do this before and after each meal and before bedtime. 
  • Place a hard candy that has not been sucked on or chewed in the socket to stimulate saliva production, soothe sensitivity, and form a clot for healing.

4. Treatment for dry socket

Answer: When you have a dry socket, we recommend cold compresses and ibuprofen to lessen the pain. Take antibiotics if instructed by your dentist. If your pain is unbearable or prolonged, call our office for a follow-up appointment.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website for dry socket treatment, you should give yourself adequate rest and consider taking a course of antibiotics if your condition worsens or persists beyond one week. They also say that you should “rinse the area with a saltwater mouthwash.”


The symptoms of dry sockets are pretty distinctive, and you can take steps to prevent it from happening. If your dentist has prescribed a course of antibiotics — make sure to complete the entire regimen as instructed! Dry sockets happen when food remains in the tooth after dental healing or an extraction. It might be time for another appointment with our office if you

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