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How to kill the pain in a dry socket after a tooth extraction

Updated February 21, 2019

A dry socket is a painful, but all too common complication that can arise after a tooth extraction. The socket that housed the tooth contains a blood clot which is a normal part of healing. If the blood clot becomes jostled and does not stay where it should, the bone and nerves in your mouth are exposed, causing considerable pain. Self-care measures can help kill the pain associated with a dry socket.

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  1. Irrigate your dry socket several times daily, as directed by your oral surgeon. Dry sockets can form, in part, from food that has become lodged into the open area where a tooth has been removed. Use a plastic syringe filled with warm water or a sterile saline solution to clean out the socket.

  2. Pack the dry socket with medicated gauze pads. Medicated dressings are prescribed by your dental health provider and may contain antibiotics to fight infection, as well as anaesthetising drugs to kill the pain. Your doctor will explain how often your dressings should be changed. Use them as directed to speed healing.

  3. Try a natural approach to pain relief by packing your dry socket with clove oil dressings. Saturate a gauze pad with the oil, a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, and apply to the open socket. Use herbal products only under the supervision of your health care provider.

  4. Take pain medication to manage the pain. Let your oral surgeon know if over-the-counter naproxen, acetaminophen or ibuprofen is not killing the pain well enough. Stronger drugs may be prescribed, if required.

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Things You'll Need

  • Saline solution
  • Syringe
  • Gauze
  • Medications
  • Clove oil

About the Author

Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.

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