A dry socket can occur following removal of a tooth if the blood clot that normally fills in the extraction site does not form properly or is lost because of poor healing, smoking, eating or drinking too soon after the extraction. The condition is painful because due to the loss of the blood clot, the extraction site is exposed to air, food, fluids and oral debris. A dry socket is almost always accompanied by some degree of infection and will frequently have a foul taste or odor. The condition, if present, generally appears two or three days following the removal of the tooth and can presist for five or 6 days.
The best way to prevent a dry socket is to follow postoperative instructions. If one occurs, it is most often treated by packing with a medicated dressing and/or taking antibiotic medication.