How To Treat A Dry Socket: 6 Ways To Ease The Pain

BY Dr. McDowell  |  April 29th, 2022
Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

One of the most painful dental problems you could ever experience is a dry socket. This painful problem comes after an adult tooth is extracted (often wisdom teeth) and a blood clot forms, and then becomes dislodged before the jaw can heal.

This then leaves the underlying bone and nerve endings totally exposed and allows the wound to be filled with debris, food, water, and anything else in your mouth. While we always recommend seeing a professional dentist for issues such as this, today we’re going to cover 6 methods for how to treat a dry socket at home. First, let’s go through the symptoms of a dry socket.

Symptoms of Dry Socket:

woman holding tooth in pain wondering how to treat a dry socket

What Causes A Dry Socket?

There are quite a few different things that can lead to a dry socket in your mouth. But, for the most part, there isn’t just one cause or even a leading cause. Commonly dry socket begins when a sucking motion takes place. Things such as:

When a tooth is extracted from your mouth, a blood clot forms that help to stop the bleeding and promote your bone healing. But, if the blood clot comes out before the bone has fully healed, it can cause a lot of complications. The first of those is a dry socket. If you’re experiencing what you think is a dry socket, be sure to see a dentist right away!

Ways To Prevent A Dry Socket

The best way to prevent a dry socket is by following your dentist’s orders. After having a tooth pulled, you want to avoid anything that could potentially dislodge the blood clot. Specifically, each of these actions should be avoided.

You also want to make sure that you’re only eating soft foods and those that your dentists have agreed on.

How to Know if You Have Dry Socket

The most common symptom of dry socket is pain. It’s a sharp pain that you can experience for several days after your operation. But, if it doesn’t start to get better, then you may have started to develop a dry socket.

It’s not normal to have extensive or extreme pain and or bleeding after your tooth is extracted. Some pain is normal, but it shouldn’t throb for hours on end.

How To Treat A Dry Socket: Top 6 Methods

If you can fix or help to make your dry socket better without having to see a dentist, then that’s great! At Wayzata Dental, we’re always happy to see you, but it’s our hope that you won’t have to come in for a dry socket ever. With the right at-home DIY remedies we’re hopeful that you can fix the dry socket before it ever gets too bad.

1) Rinse Your Mouth Gently with Warm Saltwater

woman using hot water to treat dry socket; how to treat a dry socket

One of the best things you can do is rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. This will help to remove any food particles that could be irritating your dry socket and promote blood clotting. You want to make sure that you’re using warm water and not hot because hot water could further irritate your wound.

Rinse your mouth for about 30 seconds with warm salt water, and then spit it out. Repeat this process as often as you need to throughout the day but ideally, at least three times.

2) Use Cold and Heat Therapy to Ease the Pain

If you’re in a lot of pain right after the tooth extraction, try using cold and heat therapy. Cold for the first 24 hours will help to reduce the swelling and take away some of the pain by numbing. After that, you can use heat by placing warm washcloths on the outside of your jaw.

Don’t ever use “hot” washcloths. You don’t want to heat your mouth up too much, and burns aren’t ever ideal.

3) Try Clove or Tea Tree Oil on the Wound

how to treat a dry socket; clove oil

Essential oils can offer a lot of healing benefits. Clove oil is great for numbing and reducing pain. While tea tree oil can help to fight off infection and promote healing. Don’t mix the two oils together. Instead, use each of them on their own.

To use clove oil, soak a cotton ball or sterile gauze in it and then apply it to the dry socket. You can leave it there for about 20 minutes before rinsing your mouth out.

Tea tree oil can be combined with honey or black tea and placed on gauze as well.

4) Place Honey on the Wound

Honey is full of antibacterial and healing properties. It can help to soothe your wound and reduce the pain that you’re experiencing.

To use honey, soak a cotton ball or gauze in it and then apply it to your dry socket. You can leave the gauze on for several hours but be sure to check on it every now and then.

5) Chamomile or Black Tea for Antioxidants

Chamomile tea is great for dry sockets because it’s full of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to promote healing by fighting off infection and helping your body to repair itself. Black tea can offer a lot of similar properties.

To use the tea, place a few bags of either tea in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, and then take it out and let it cool. Then you can place the tea bag on the wound to help promote healing and prevent infections.

6) Over-the-Counter NSAIDs

If you’re in a lot of pain, over-the-counter NSAIDs can help. They won’t cure the dry socket, but they will help to take away the pain and reduce inflammation.

Some common NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Be sure to follow the package directions to keep from taking too much. But if you don’t want to go out to the store, you can take ibuprofen.

Call Wayzata Dental for Dry Socket Treatment

At Wayzata Dental, we’d be happy to help you care for your dry socket and keep your mouth healthy. There’s nothing worse than dealing with a painful sore in your mouth. 

Make your appointment today! Or, the next time that you’re in need of dental services, visit us. We provide non-invasive dental treatments with state-of-the-art lasers. You’ll never love the dentist more than when you visit Wayzata Dental. 


How long does a dry socket take to heal?

Typically, a dry socket will take about 7-10 days to heal once new tissue begins to cover the exposed bone and cover the wound. Periodontal disease or thin bones can make the healing process longer.

What happens if a dry socket goes untreated?

If left untreated, dry sockets can become extremely painful and lead to complications including delayed healing and infection that spread to the bone.

Will Ibuprofen stop dry socket pain?

Yes, you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as aspirin or ibuprofen to ease the discomfort of dry socket pain. Often times these over-the-counter medications aren’t strong enough to relieve the pain and you’ll need a doctor to prescribe a stronger drug or anesthetize the area.

Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..