Tooth Extraction And Dry Sockets

couple looking at info on dry socket

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are often extracted. Some people naturally have enough room in their mouths to accommodate the eruption of wisdom teeth. Those who do not have room for additional teeth may suffer impacted wisdom teeth, a condition in which the teeth remain buried (or partially buried) below the gums. Wisdom teeth may also erupt out of line with the rest of the teeth. Wisdom teeth impacted below the gum line may cause pain and swelling in the surrounding tissues.

When wisdom teeth – or any teeth – are extracted, several complications may occur after surgery, including:

·     Dry Socket
·     Nerve damage causing numbness of the lower lip or tongue
·     Jaw stiffness
·     Infection
·     Bruising and /or haematoma

What is a Dry Socket?

After a tooth extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket, the space that once held the tooth, and seals the area so that it can heal. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot breaks down or is dislodged, exposing the bone of the jaw. The first three or so days after extraction are the most critical, and it is during this time that the risk of developing a dry socket is the highest. A dry socket can be very painful! If you think you have this condition, contact your dentist immediately.


Typically, your dentist will rinse out the empty socket, remove any debris and apply a medicated dressing to protect the area and decrease pain. If signs of widespread infection are present e.g. fever or general malaise, the dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic to prevent further spread of infection and a painkiller to ease discomfort. The dentist can advise you what to eat or drink as well as how to clean and care for the dry socket area. With proper care and rest, the dry socket should heal in seven to ten days. Your dentist will probably ask that you schedule a follow up appointment to monitor the healing process and to see how you are doing.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, your dentist will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other dental treatment. But when there's too much damage for the tooth to be repaired, the tooth may need to be extracted — or removed — from its socket in the bone.

Beyond damage and decay, here are some
other common reasons for tooth removal:

  • Some people have extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.

  • Sometimes baby teeth don't fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come in.

  • People getting braces may need teeth extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place.

  • People receiving radiation to the head and neck may need to have teeth in the field of radiation extracted.

  • People receiving cancer drugs may develop infected teeth because these drugs weaken the immune system. Infected teeth may need to be extracted.

  • Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they erupt in the mouth. They commonly come in during the late teens or early 20’s. They need to be removed if they are decayed, infected, or if there is not enough room in the mouth.

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