Preventing Dry Socket

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October 7, 2021

What is dry socket?

You might have heard of the term “dry socket” and maybe you are aware of the pain that accompanies it. One of the most common questions that we are asked is how to avoid it.

Dry socket can happen a few days after tooth extraction. When a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms to aid in healing and to protect the nerves and bones underneath. Dry socket occurs when this blood clot doesn’t develop correctly or if it becomes dislodged. When there is nothing protecting this area, food or bacteria can enter and cause infection.

Although dry socket is relatively rare, it can happen and the risk is there until you are fully healed which may be a week to 10 days.

Preventing dry sockets

No straws!

Do not use straws for at least one week after your extraction. The sucking motion can remove your blood clot.

Avoid smoking and tobacco use

Don’t smoke the first week after your extraction (might be a good time to quit for good!) The act of inhaling when smoking a cigarette can dislodge your blood clot.

Don’t use any other tobacco products either. The chemicals found in tobacco can decrease the blood supply to your mouth, which slows healing and can cause an infection.

Soft foods, please

Stay away from foods that have the potential to get stuck in your socket, such as nuts and seeds, chips and sticky candies. Choose soft foods immediately after your surgery, such as yogurt, eggs, mashed potatoes, etc.


Rest is critical, even if you don’t feel like it! Your socket needs time to properly heal. Avoid any strenuous activity. The impact and breathing from sports or from working out can dislodge the clot from your socket.

Stick to water

Make sure you drink water and avoid any beverages that are hot or acidic. Hot drinks, like tea or coffee, can dissolve your blood clot and lead to pain because your nerve endings are exposed. Acidic drinks such as soda can also dissolve your clot.

Practice good oral hygiene

It’s important to clean your mouth after your surgery. Doing so keeps your mouth and socket clean and free of bacteria. Gently rinse with water and avoid vigorous swishing as it can dislodge the clot.

The specialists at Rockcliff Oral Surgery are here to help you should you have any questions about your tooth extractions or dry sockets!