Dry Sockets (alveolar osteitis).
What are they?
A dry socket, more formally referred to as alveolar osteitis, is a post-operative complication that interferes with the healing process that takes place after a tooth extraction.
Formation involves a situation where the blood clot that's normally expected to occupy the extraction site is instead lost. As a result, the wound's healing process is delayed.
Signs and symptoms.
The signs of a dry socket include throbbing pain and a foul odor and taste coming from the extraction site. These symptoms typically do not appear until some days after the tooth has been removed.
Dental research and clinical observation have identified a number of risk factors that correlate with the potential for developing a dry socket. Identification of these factors can be useful in preventing their formation.
Pain medications on their own, even prescription ones, are seldom effective in managing the discomfort associated with a dry socket. In most cases, the treatment that's required is one where the patient's dentist inserts a medicated dressing (daily if needed) directly in the wound.
Dry Sockets -
A) Why they form.
While the exact pathogenesis of dry socket formation has yet to be determined, the following factors are involved.
1) The blood clot is lost.
Formation involves a scenario where the blood clot that forms in the tooth's socket immediately after its removal isn't properly retained. Either it disintegrates (by way of a process termed fibrinolysis) or else is dislodged (by an activity such as vigorous rinsing).
2) Healing is delayed.
Since this blood clot is an important factor in initiating the healing process, and protecting the boney tooth socket as it takes place, the progress of the extraction site's healing is interrupted and subsequently delayed.