Alveolar osteitis, also known as dry socket, is a dental condition that is very painful and happens after a permanent tooth has been extracted from your mouth. This condition occurs when the blood clot fails to develop on the site of the tooth removed, or it may have dissolved before the wound from the tooth extraction has healed.

A blood clot that forms on the wound from tooth extraction is healthy because it serves as a protective layer over the bone underlying it and empties the nerve ending on the tooth socket.

If the underlying bone and nerves are exposed, it will cause intense pain not only in the socket but also along the nerves that connect to the face. In addition to that, pain that you feel may be worse when the socket becomes inflamed and filled with blood debris.

Alveolar Osteitis is the most common complication after tooth extraction. Pain relievers will be offered by a dentist or an oral surgeon to relieve the pain you are feeling.

What are the causes of Alveolar Osteitis or a dry socket?

The cause of alveolar osteitis is still studied, yet many have suspected specific issues that may be involved in causing alveolar osteitis or a dry socket, such as:

  • The socket is contaminated with bacteria due to exposure
  • Trauma from a painful extraction


Here are signs and symptoms of an alveolar osteitis or a dry socket:

  • Intense pain after a few days from tooth extraction
  • The empty-looking socket is caused by a partial or total loss of the blood clot in the wound from the tooth extraction
  • The underlying bone is visible in the socket
  • Pain radiates from the socket to every part of your face
  • Bad breath or foul odor in your mouth
  • Unpleasant taste

Alveolar osteitis rarely results in infection or some severe complications. Still, it may happen when healing is delayed or when an infection in the socket occurs, and when osteomyelitis or chronic bone infection is progressing in the socket.


Pain from a tooth extraction is normal, but when severe pain is felt not only in the mouth but also, all around the face, it may be dealt with by a dentist or an oral surgeon. Pain relievers are the most common remedies for tooth extraction pain, lessening discomfort.

Some factors can increase the risk of alveolar osteitis, which you can minimize or stop doing. These factors include:

  • Smoking and using tobacco
  • Use of oral contraceptives
  • Improper hygiene or at-home care
  • Presence of dry socket in the past
  • Tooth or gum infection



If there is infection, antibiotics may be given. Pain relievers may also be prescribed.

You can prevent the occurrence of alveolar osteitis or a dry socket by doing proper hygiene, lessening the use of tobacco or taking over-the-counter medications or supplements for pain relief.

On the other hand, your dentist or your oral surgeon may take several steps to ensure that your socket is adequately healed to prevent

These steps may include recommendations like:

  • Antibacterial mouthwashes
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Antiseptic solutions for the wound
  • Medicated dressings for the wound.

Proper at-home care is the easiest way to prevent and heal an alveolar osteitis or a dry socket.

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