After performing a dental extraction, the socket (space occupied by the roots of the tooth) is exposed, and a blood clot starts to form on it, thus generating the first stages of healing and protecting the nerve endings of the empty dental cavity.
Occasionally, this clot may not form due to various factors, or may disappear due to contamination by food debris or smoking during this healing phase.
This produces a process called dry socket. When the nerve endings are exposed, intense pain is felt in the area, which usually appears during the first 3 days after a tooth extraction.
The main treatment is symptomatic with pain medication. It is also important to remove food debris by irrigating the area with saline solution. Curetting of the socket may be indicated to decontaminate the bone surface and cause bleeding for a new clot to form.