Treatment of dry socket focuses on reducing symptoms, particularly pain. Dry socket treatment may include:
- Flushing out the socket. Your dentist or oral surgeon may flush the socket to remove any food particles or other debris that may contribute to pain or infection.
- Medicated dressings. Your dentist or oral surgeon may pack the socket with medicated dressings. This step provides relatively fast pain relief. You may need to have the dressings changed several times in the days after treatment starts. The severity of your pain and other symptoms will determine how often you need to return for dressing changes or other treatment.
- Pain medication. Talk to your doctor about which pain medications are best for your situation. You'll likely need a prescription pain medication.
- Self-care. You may be told how to flush the socket at home to promote healing and eliminate debris. To do this, you'll be given a plastic syringe with a curved tip to squirt water, salt water, or a prescription rinse into the socket. You'll be instructed to continue the rinse until the socket no longer collects any debris.
Once treatment is started, you may begin to feel some pain relief in just a few hours. Pain and other symptoms should continue to improve and will likely be gone within a few days.
July 16, 2013
- Neville BW, et al. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:120.
- Summers A. Emergency management of alveolar osteitis. Emergency Nurse. 2011;19:28.
- Roberts JR, et al. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/202633129-4/0/2083/0.html#. Accessed May 27, 2013.
- Krakowiak, PA. Alveolar osteitis and osteomyelitis of the jaws. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America. 2011;23:401.
- Cardoso CL, et al. Clinical concepts of dry socket. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 2010;68:1922.
- Dodson T. Prevention and treatment of dry socket. Evidence-Based Dentistry. 2013;14:13.
- Preparing for third molar removal. NIH Clinical Center. National Institutes of Health. http://www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/patient_education/tests_procedures.html. Accessed May 27, 2013.
- Daly B, et al. Local interventions for the management of alveolar osteitis (dry socket). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006968.pub2/abstract. Accessed May 27, 2013.
- Fenton DA, et al. Perioperative strategies for third molar surgery. Atlas of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America. 2012;20:25.
- Sheridan PJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 26, 2013.