Will A Dry Socket Heal On Its Own?

For those who have had any teeth removed, especially wisdom teeth, chances are you know about the risk of developing a dry socket after surgery or removal. If you've never had one or have a tooth removal coming up, you may be wondering if it can heal on its own. In short, yes, a dry socket can heal on its own. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean you'll be out of the clear when it comes to pain and discomfort.

When a tooth is removed, the tooth socket is left open until a blood clot forms over it. The blood clot is essential to recovery because it covers and protects the empty socket, which contains bone and nerve endings. If you do certain activities, like sucking through a straw or smoking, the blood clot can become dislodged, creating a dry socket. People who end up with the painful condition typically call their dentist with the news to see what's recommended. Your dentist may tell you to come in, but you have the option to wait it out at home.

Treating a dry socket at home or the dentist

Because a dry socket can heal on its own, many people decide to wait it out in the comfort of their own homes. To take care of a dry socket at home, you'll first want to clean out the empty socket by rinsing it with warm salt water. The warm salt water should be allowed to sit in the tooth socket to lessen the amount of bacteria present. After cleaning out the removal site, let the water dribble out of your mouth, and then irrigate the socket with saline before dressing it with gauze.

The process of cleaning out a dry socket at home is similar to what is done at a dentist's office. However, if you decide to go to the dentist for help, you may get a little more done than you would at home. The dentist will be able to prescribe antibiotics, medication, and ointment for pain relief, if necessary. A dry socket can take anywhere from 7-10 days to heal with pain possibly lasting up to 2 weeks.