How to Deal With a Dry Socket

How to Deal With a Dry Socketthumbnail
Dry sockets can occur after a tooth extraction. (Photo: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)

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.

Take aspirin for pain. (Photo: Veniamin Kraskov/iStock/Getty Images)

Alleviate the pain with an over-the-counter, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medicine found at most drugstores. Aspirin or ibuprofen are common anti-inflammatory drugs that can help lessen the pain of a dry socket. Take as instructed on the label.

Gargle. (Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Gargle with salt water after meals to prevent more food and liquid from lodging in the socket.

Visit dentist. (Photo: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Visit your dentist to have the socket cleaned and treated with medicated dressing. Your dentist may recommend returning every day to have the dressing changed until the socket is healed.

Things You'll Need

  • OTC anti-inflammatory medication
  • Salt water

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