Home Remedies for Dry Socket: Treatments for Pain Relief (2024)

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Rinsing gently with warm, salty water, applying cold packs on your cheeks, and taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling. But you’ll still want to see a dentist or doctor for infections.

Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, may develop after a permanent adult tooth is extracted.

It can occur when the blood clots at the site of extraction either dislodges, dissolves, or never develops prior to healing. This can leave your underlying bone and nerve endings exposed. It also allows the wound to become filled with food or debris, causing infection.

Symptoms of dry socket include:

  • severe pain, which may radiate from the socket to your ear, eye, temple, or neck
  • seeing an empty socket
  • visible bone in the socket
  • bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth

The exact causes of dry socket still need more research. The most common causes are:

  • bacterial infection
  • difficult or complicated extractions, such as an impacted wisdom tooth
  • trauma at the surgical site

You’re most at risk of developing dry socket if you:

  • smoke
  • take oral contraceptives
  • don’t follow proper wound care

There are different treatments available for dry socket that your dentist or oral surgeon can prescribe to you. When you have to wait to get into see them, however, these home treatments can help alleviate symptoms.

Even if your oral surgeon gives you medication, they’ll also encourage you to rinse the affected area with warm salt water several times a day. It can help eliminate bacteria and reduce or prevent further infection.

The Mayo Clinic recommends dissolving ½ teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water. Swish this around in your mouth for a minute, or use it to flush out the dry socket with a syringe your surgeon gives you. Do this at least three times per day or after meals.

For the first 24 hours after a tooth extraction, use cold packs against your face for fifteen minutes at a time to reduce swelling. Afterwards, you can use heat in the form of warm washcloths to manage pain.

Heat will likely be most beneficial for soothing pain caused by dry socket, though cold can help numb your nerves more efficiently. Test each and see what works best for you. Always use warm instead of hot, and place it against the cheek where you’re feeling pain.

Clove oil contains eugenol, which has anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial benefits. It can soothe pain and prevent infections from developing or advancing. Because of this, clove oil is sometimes used in professional dry socket pastes. Clove oil can have side effects, so consult your dentist or oral surgeon before using this as a home remedy.

These side effects may include:

  • rash or skin irritation
  • sore gums
  • swollen gums

You can add clove oil to sterile gauze and apply it directly to the affected area. Only keep the gauze on for 20 minutes at a time until you’re sure that you won’t experience side effects.

Honey has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. A 2014 study found that honey dressings for dry socket resulted in a significant reduction in inflammation, edema, pain, and discomfort. It also showed evidence of preventing further infection.

To use honey to help dry socket, put raw honey on sterile gauze and place it directly on the affected area. Change the gauze every few hours if you keep it on consistently.

Black tea contains tannic acid, which acts as a natural antibacterial agent while also reducing both swelling and pain.

To use this remedy, immerse a tea bag in a cup of boiling water for five minutes. Remove it and squeeze the excess water out after it’s cooled. The tea bag should be cooled for it to be effective. Sticking it in the refrigerator, not the freezer, can allow it to act as a cold compress.

You can gently bite down on the tea bag to keep it in place for about 15 minutes. Rinse your mouth with the remaining cool tea after the 15 minutes are over.

Tea tree oil has antiseptic, antibacterial, and analgesic properties that make it a popular natural remedy.

Tea tree oil is available online and at many supermarkets. For this purpose, you should only use pure tea tree oil, and not simply products containing it.

You can add tea tree oil to sterile gauze and place it over the dry socket. Because it’s strong, it may be best to mix a drop or two of tea tree oil with honey or black tea when applying it to the gauze to reduce your risk of irritation.

Oregano oil has antibacterial benefits and may even be effective against some drug-resistant strains of bacteria. This applies to potential bacterial infections that are causing or developing in your dry socket.

You can apply oregano oil directly to the area, or put it on sterile gauze and leave it over your dry socket several times a day.

Chamomile has antioxidant properties which promote healing. Its anti-inflammatory benefits can immediately help soothe swelling and pain caused by dry socket. Most grocery stores will have it in stock if you don’t have it in your cupboard already.

You can utilize chamomile tea bags like black tea. Place the tea bag in boiling water for five minutes before removing it and letting it cool. Apply the tea bag to the affected area for 15 minutes. If this is uncomfortable, you can also sip on the tea once it’s cooled.

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can be effective at reducing both pain and swelling. They won’t be much help at treating or preventing an infection, but they can relieve pain until you can get to your doctor.

Talk with or call your dentist before you take any OTC medications. You should not take NSAIDs or any other OTC medication if you’re taking prescribed pain medications after your extraction. If you see your dentist for dry socket treatment, let them know what medications you’ve taken.

Smoking and other tobacco use increase your risk of developing dry socket and can also make it more difficult to treat. You should avoid all smoking and tobacco products while you’re treating and recovering from dry socket.

Other irritating foods and beverages should also be avoided, even if they’re liquid. Spicy foods and alcoholic beverages can increase discomfort. You should be eating soft foods to avoid opening or getting debris trapped in the socket.

Dry socket can be extremely painful, so it would be difficult to ignore. However, if it goes untreated, it could result in additional complications.

The most common complication is delayed healing. Additional medicated dressings and careful attention will be needed to make sure the dry socket heals properly.

Your socket can also become infected, and if left untreated, the infection can spread to your bone. This may require oral or intravenous antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading further.

There are few risks to utilizing home remedies to treat dry socket outside of allergic reactions, but you should talk with your doctor first to make sure these treatments are safe for you.

While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with your doctor before you begin using essential oils and use caution when choosing a quality brand. You should also always do a test patch before using.

Dry socket can be excruciatingly painful. As soon as symptoms arise, you should start treatment. While you’re waiting to see your oral surgeon, you can utilize home remedies detailed above to manage your symptoms and pain.

Fortunately, while dry socket is painful, it responds quickly to treatment. Your symptoms should start decreasing soon after treatment, and they should be entirely gone in three to four days. If not, make another appointment with your dentist to look for a better solution.

Home Remedies for Dry Socket: Treatments for Pain Relief (2024)


How to ease dry socket pain at home? ›

Lifestyle and home remedies
  1. Take pain medicines as prescribed.
  2. Do not smoke or use tobacco products.
  3. Drink plenty of clear liquids. ...
  4. Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water several times a day.
  5. Brush your teeth gently around the dry socket area.
  6. Be careful with eating or drinking.
Jul 18, 2023

What's the best pain relief for a dry socket? ›

Aspirin or ibuprofen can help relieve some pain. Still, you may need a prescription medicine from your dentist or oral surgeon. If you believe the clot over your extraction site has become dislodged, call your dentist.

What can you take over-the-counter for a dry socket? ›

You can also take some over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), or ibuprofen (Advil). Gargling with warm salt water (½ teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water) at least three times a day will also help.

What topical pain relief can you use for dry socket? ›

Over-the-counter clove oil (eugenol) and lidocaine can be used to numb the pain when treating dry socket at home.

What makes dry socket pain worse? ›

Intense pain happens when the underlying bone and nerves are exposed. Pain occurs in the socket and along the nerves to the side of the face. The socket becomes swollen and irritated. It may fill with bits of food, making the pain worse.

How fast does dry socket pain go away? ›

According to the Canadian Dental Association, dry socket typically occurs within 3–5 days of the extraction and lasts for up to 7 days. The pain is severe and can persist for 24–72 hours. The research recommends that further investigation takes place if pain continues beyond this timeframe.

Can I use Orajel on a dry socket? ›

Dry socket paste is just one of many ways you can reduce the pain associated with this condition. You can also use any of the following alternative treatments to achieve the same effect: Medicated gauze dressing. Topical anesthetics like lidocaine (Orajel, Oraqix)

What kills dry socket? ›

Rinse with Warm Salt Water

Warm salt water help rid your mouth of bacteria and prevents infections. Use 1/2 teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. You can use it to flush out the dry socket with a syringe given to you by your surgeon or swish it around in your mouth. You should do this after meals.

What is the best painkiller after tooth extraction? ›

use painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (always read and follow the manufacturer's dosage instructions) – there's some evidence to suggest that ibuprofen is the best painkiller to take after having wisdom teeth removed. avoid strenuous activity and exercise for a few days.

What do dentists put in dry socket? ›

After flushing the socket to remove food and debris, your dentist will pack it with a medicated dressing in the form of a paste. One of the ingredients in dry socket paste is eugenol, which is present in clove oil and acts as an anesthetic. Eugenol also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

What ointment is used for dry socket? ›

Dry Socket Treatment

The patented StellaLife VEGA Oral Care Gel provides quick pain relief and has been found to speed up healing. Dentists have found it effective in the pain management of dry sockets and recovery following dental surgical & non-surgical procedures.

Is honey good for a dry socket? ›

Honey soaked in sterile gauze placed in dry socket cases showed accelerated healing with minimum patient discomfort. Excess use of eugenol can lead to necrosis of bone. Honey can be used as a medicament for the management of dry socket.

How do you numb a dry socket? ›

After flushing the socket to remove food and debris, your dentist will pack it with a medicated dressing in the form of a paste. One of the ingredients in dry socket paste is eugenol, which is present in clove oil and acts as an anesthetic. Eugenol also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

How can I speed up dry socket? ›

Use honey: Coat your dry socket with honey to help reduce inflammation. Create a cold compress: Press a cold towel against your cheeks to soothe the pain. Drink tea: Drink anti-inflammatory tea to reduce inflammation throughout your body.

How long should dry socket packing stay in? ›

If the non-resorbable packing is placed you will need to return to the office in the next two to four days to have the dressing removed and possibly replaced depending on how fast the site heals. Sometimes a dry socket requires multiple dressing change appointments until it has healed adequately.


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