Could You Be At Risk for Dry Socket?

Tooth extractions are fairly commonplace in modern dentistry. There may come a time when your tooth is too damaged to be saved and the best option will be to remove it. After a tooth extraction, it is imperative that you follow your doctor’s orders regarding aftercare, or risk a painful and often debilitating condition known as dry socket. Once this complication has occurred, it will not typically clear up on its own, and you should visit your dentist for immediate treatment.

Risk Factors

After an extraction procedure, your dentist will give you a list of do’s and don’ts that you should follow closely to avoid complications. Certain habits should be avoided because they can severely exasperate a minor problem. You are more likely to get dry socket if you:

  • Are a smoker
  • Have poor oral hygiene
  • Have a history of dry socket
  • Experienced greater than usual trauma during your procedure


Dry socket commonly occurs about 2 days after having a tooth extracted. It is caused by the lack of formation of a protective blood clot where your tooth was removed, or early dislodgement of the blood clot. You may begin to notice severe, throbbing pain in the area of your extraction. Often, this pain will radiate through your face and up into your ear. Upon closer inspection, you may notice that your toothless socket appears white inside, instead of the normal pink or red. This could be exposed bone that should be protected by a blood clot. A foul smell or taste in your mouth is another symptom that you should bring to your dentist’s attention, as it can be indicative of severe infection.

About Your Cerritos Oral Surgeon:

Shawn Hofkes, DDS, is highly qualified to address complex issues, including the placement of dental implants. He can also help improve the beauty of your smile with extractions and oral surgery. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.