What Causes Dry Socket?

Q:
What causes dry socket?

A:
A dry socket is caused by the partial or total loss of a blood clot in the tooth socket after a tooth extraction.

In general, a dry socket is a result of bacterial, chemical, mechanical, and physiologic factors. Below are examples for each:

  • Bacterial. Preexisting infection that is present in the mouth prior to a dental extraction such as periodontal disease (or periodontitis) can prevent proper formation of a blood clot. Certain oral bacteria can also cause the breakdown of the clot.
  • Chemical. Nicotine used by smokers causes a decrease in the blood supply in the mouth. As a result, the blood clot may fail to form at the site of a recent tooth extraction.
  • Mechanical. Sucking through a straw, aggressive rinsing, spitting, or dragging on a cigarette may cause dislodgement and loss of the blood clot.
  • Physiologic. Hormones, dense jawbone, or poor blood supply are factors that prevent blood clot formation.

Please consult your doctor for more information.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.