More commonly known as "dry socket," this dental condition results from not allowing the appropriate blood clot to form in an area where a tooth has been extracted. The condition may be caused by drinking through a straw, smoking, or overbrushing in the area within 48 hours post-extraction.
Some people will experience localized inflammation and infection in the tooth socket 48 hours after surgery. This has commonly been called a dry socket (alveolitis). It is not dry, however, and the name is derived from the appearance of the socket which is commonly void of a normal blood clot or granulating (healing) tissue. Statistically, it is more common in people older than 25 years and in women. It is also seen more often in people who had to have their tooth removed than people who elected to have them removed. Alveolitis will occur in 1% to 5% of people regardless of the surgeon's skill or surgical method chosen. A dry socket is typically the result of something that has dislodged the normal blood clot, such as smoking, drinking through a straw, brushing the area, or trying to clean the extraction site (see Care of Your Mouth After an Extraction).