Dry Socket FAQs

extract1Dry socket is probably not a commonly known malady but nonetheless it does exist. If you are not familiar with dry socket, read on. Today, your Des Moines Dentist, Dr. Stephen Burds, shares some FAQs about dry socket.


Q: Does dry socket have anything to do with having a dry mouth?

A: No.  Dry mouth is a condition called xerostomia. Dry socket refers to a condition that takes place after a tooth extraction.

Q: Are there often complications after a tooth extraction?

A: Tooth extractions are usually performed without complication. However, the most common complication associated with a tooth extraction is dry socket.

Q: What exactly is a socket?

A: Dry socket is referring to your tooth socket. Your tooth socket is the opening in your jaw bone where your tooth is seated. The tooth is held in place with your gum tissue and periodontal ligaments.

Q: What is a “dry” socket?

A: After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the vacant space. This blood clot is essential to the healing process. However, if the blood clot dissolves too soon, fails to form, or is dislodged it is referred to as having a “dry socket.” This tends to happen with smokers especially.

Q: Why is the blood clot “essential” to the healing process?

A: The blood clot is a barrier of protection against bacteria, food debris, and other irritants that can initiate infection. It also plays a role in the generation of new bone and tissue.

Q: How will I know if I have dry socket?

A: The symptoms of dry socket include pain that can become more severe with time and radiate to your ear, an unpleasant taste in your mouth, an unpleasant odor from your mouth, and rather than seeing a dark clot of blood in the socket, bone will be visible.

Q: How is dry socket treated?

A: The first step in treatment is flushing the socket of bacteria, food debris, and other irritants that can cause pain and infection. Next, the socket is packed with medicated dressings to help heal while keeping it clean and safe from irritants. Ibuprofen or aspirin are commonly prescribed for pain.

About your Des Moines Dentist

Contact your Des Moines dentist by calling Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565. We welcome patients from River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.