Dry socket is a common complication following a tooth extraction; particularly extraction of wisdom teeth. The blood that clots at the site of the extraction becomes dislodged leaving nerves and bones exposed to the cold air. This may cause excruciating pain.


  • Severe pain following a tooth extraction, radiating to the eye or ear
  • Exposure of bone at the site of extraction
  • Foul odor or unpleasant taste from the mouth
  • Lymph nodes around the jaw or neck are swollen

Who is at risk?

Watch for symptoms in anyone who has had a tooth extraction. Tobacco use can contaminate the wound, leading to dry socket. Oral contraceptives can deliver high amounts of estrogen that may dissolve the blood clot prematurely. An already infected tooth or gum will increase chances of dry socket as well.


Seek medical attention for relief. Do not sweat out the pain. A physician or dentist will want to flush and clean the socket and apply medicated dressings. Pain medication might be prescribed, along with self care for keeping the socket clean.

Emergency Warning Signs: When should I see a doctor?

If pain worsens after a tooth extraction, contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately for evaluation and treatment. If you don’t have access to the doctor who performed the surgery, don’t delay in getting emergency help from an urgent care facility or emergency department.

Treatment for dry socket is available now at OnPoint Urgent Care in Aurora, Highlands Ranch, or Lone Tree Colorado.

For more information on dry socket, see the following websites:

Mayo Clinic Risk Factors for Dry Socket

WebMD Oral Health Center

Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of OnPointUrgentCare.com. The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.