Dry socket

After a tooth has been extracted, sometimes a hole forms in the jawbone, this is called a dry socket or alveolar osteitis. Normally, when a surgical tooth extraction UK, a blood clot forms and this blood clot covers the bone and nerves underneath. At times, this blood clot falls off and breaks up. With this situation, the bone and nerve remain open and exposed to air, thus forming a dry socket.

The blood clot which forms after a tooth is extracted is replaced by granulation tissue. The main cause of dry socket is that this granulation tissue does not grow, or after it begins to grow, the growth becomes interrupted.

The other factors which can cause alveolar osteitis are:

  • Smoking
  • Poor oral health
  • Extraction of the wisdom teeth mostly result in dry socket
  • Extraordinary trauma during the tooth extraction surgery
  • Consumption of birth control pills

As dry sockets leave the bone and nerves exposed and open to the air, any food particles, drinks, etc, cause severe pain and possible infection.

The pain which results from alveolar osteitis can be controlled with the use of painkillers. In severe cases, a nerve block may also be prescribed by the Oral Health Care Specialist. The treatment for dry sockets comprises the dentist first cleaning the hole properly by removing all debris and bacteria. The hole is then filled with medicated pastes which trigger the healing process. Sedative dressings are also used on the dry socket, these would consist of items such as zinc oxide, oil of cloves, eugenol and aspirin. Antibiotics are also prescribed to ensure the socket remains free from infection.