ZocdocAnswersWhat is a dry socket?

Question

What is a dry socket?

I just had my wisdom teeth removed a few days ago and I was warned against developing a dry socket. How do I tell the difference between experiencing some normal discomfort and a dry socket? I am not a smoker. I do not currently have a fever, and I do not see any bone exposed. I am in quite a bit of pain, though, and worried that I have developed a dry socket.

Answer

I recommend you discuss this with your doctor or surgeon. So sorry to hear that you are having pain after your extraction, and do hope that this pain improves shortly. As you suggest, it is entirely normal to have some pain after any extraction. This is entirely expected, and should continue to improve every day. Additionally, this should be able to be controlled by the medications that you have been given by your doctor or dentist. If, however, you find that the pain is increasing a few days after surgery, and your normal pain medication just isn't doing the trick, than it is entirely possible that you have a dry socket. This is one of the most common complications after having an adult tooth removed, and can be quite painful. If you have had an increase in your pain several days after surgery, please speak with the person that removed the tooth so that you can get further instructions. There are several things that can be done to reduce the pain and help your body to heal the extraction site more quickly, such as packing, cleaning out debris, or even changing your pain medications. However, as with all post operative concerns, please speak with your doctor or surgeon about these questions.

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