Dentistry/Dry socket



I recently had my lower right wisdom tooth pulled and developed a dry socket even though I followed the directions given to me by my oral surgeon very thoroughly. They packed the dry socket with a gauze soaked in clove oil on the 18th. It is the 22nd and my gums are very sore and I've developed a horrible taste in my mouth (a case of bad breath) that won't go away with brushing. It seems to be coming from the gauze. How often should it be changed? My surgeon didn't mention changing it...he told me to come back in 10 days for him to remove it. This doesn't seem sanitary to me. Am I being paranoid or should he be changing the packing more frequently, or at least once?

Thank you

Kayleigh - I too am uncomfortable with just leaving the packing in the socket.  The best and correct approach is to place the medicated gauze into the socket for 1-2 days, remove it and irrigate the socket.  If there is still soreness, the socket is repacked and again left for a day or two.  The patient to return again to have the packing removed and the socket again irrigated.  If the discomfort begins to reduce, the packing is removed in 4-5 days, irrigated and the discomfort is evaluated.  Repacking and irrigation is continued until all the pain is gone.  

The problem is getting the surgeon to do the correct thing.  Some care more about $ than getting their patients healthy.  I wish you well and hope you are more comfortable soon.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

©2017 All rights reserved.