Oral Surgery/dry socket


I suffered with pain in my upper left jaw area for almost 6 months.  I went to my dentist who sent me to an periodontist.  He told me it wasn't due to a tooth.  Back to my primary who told me it might be sinus.  Two courses of antibiotics later, I was being awakened at night with pain that felt like a sharp metal object being shoved in my upper jaw!  I was living with it because I had to work.  Incidentally, went to dentist for a cleaning when a different dentist (after being told my dilemma) told me the x-ray clearly showed a cyst with pocket of fluid.  He said I should have it removed.  The second left molar was very expensive because I had root canal a post and crown, I didn't want to lose it.  I had it removed on Fri. 2/15/13 and developed a dry socket. Quite honestly I didn't even realize pain because I had dealt with so much! It was the taste and swelling that told me something was wrong.  It has been packed 4 times.  The surgeon told me it isn't common to develop a dry socket in upper jaw because it's highly vascular.  My question is, could I have developed bone infection?  Should I look into Hyperbolic treatment?

Kathleen -  You are correct that dry sockets in the upper jaw are not common, but they do occasionally happen.  Of course, if there is some swelling associated with the area, it could be an infection.  Using warm salt water rinses a few times a day for a couple of minutes should also help, even though the area is packed.  Warm salt water reduces inflammation.  Hyperbaric treatment at this stage is not appropriate.  The other possible cause of pain could be sinus inflammation.  The surgeon needs to completely define the cause of the problem and aggressively treat it before the problem progresses.  If it is a dry socket, repeated irrigation of the socket and repacking is appropriate and can take a couple of weeks to get better.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon 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 practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at 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 Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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