Dry sockets are painful infections that can occur after having a tooth pulled. If you smoke, take birth control pills or practice poor oral hygiene, you may be more susceptible to this infection. The dry socket forms due to a blood clot (meant to protect the bone and nerves) dissolving or dislodging too soon after the extraction -- leaving the socket exposed to food, liquid and air. If you develop a dry socket, there are several ways you can treat the pain and help promote healing.
Dry sockets usually occur within two days after a tooth is pulled.
Avoid sucking motions with your mouth, such as drinking through a straw, after a tooth extraction.
Avoid tobacco products one to two days before and after an extraction.
Ask your dentist for stronger medication if over-the-counter drugs are not enough to alleviate the pain.
See your dentist immediately if you think you may have a dry socket. Untreated dry sockets generally result in severe pain that can extend to your ear.