Dry Socket Vs Clot: All You Need To Know

Sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate between dry socket vs clot. This is because both look alike and happen on the gum but they are not the same. Blood clotting leads to dry socket. We will try to further explain each of them, their symptoms, causes and treatment methods.


An adult’s tooth can be pulled out or extracted because of different reasons. Sometimes, after the extraction, the patient feels severe pains either because the blood clots did not form properly or it dissolves before the wound has healed properly. Another name for this is alveolar osteitis.
The blood clot that forms where a tooth had been extracted performs the function of protecting the nerves and bones in a gum when the tooth has been extracted. It also creates a basis on which new tooth can grow. 

Dry socket can happen when a wisdom tooth is pulled out. After it is extracted and blood clots dissolves or does not form properly, it becomes infected and very painful. It is normal to feel pain after a tooth extraction but when it becomes unbearable and severe, you may have to see a doctor as it is caused by dry socket.

When food particles in the mouth or drinks becomes contaminated by bacteria, dry socket can occur. Also, poking the gum where tooth is removed from during brushing or flossing can stop the healing process.


Apart from the visible bone on the gum where your tooth used to be, there are other symptoms of dry socket. They are : 
• Severe pain on the jaw where the extraction took place. This can start 2 days after the procedure. 
• Bad breath coming out of your mouth even after brushing.
• Empty looking socket
• Unpleasant taste in the mouth when you eat anything.
• Pain and fever on your neck and side of your face where the extraction was done.
• Pain when you take in cold food or water.


Tooth infection: When any part of your teeth becomes infected, it might affect the blood clots. When the blood clots become infected, it turns to dry socket.
Oral contraceptives: Because oral contraceptives are high on estrogen, there is a high risk of developing dry socket.
Smoking: Sucking the smoke of a cigarette can dislodge the blood clots. The chemicals in tobacco and cigarettes may stop the healing process of the gum.
Not taking care of the wound: Just like other wounds need care, the one in your teeth does too. Practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent this.

Previous record of a dry socket : If you have had a dry socket before, you stand a risk of developing another one when you undergo another tooth extraction.


When you notice you have a dry socket, you can see a dentist to clean the area and dress it. The dressing can continue for as long as it takes the wound to heal properly. Antibiotics can also be prescribed to ease the severe pain.

Pain medications like ibuprofen can help relieve the pain. Be sure not to use an aspirin to avoid increasing the bleeding. You can use a cold compress on the affected area. Antibacterial mouthwash can be used.

dry socket vs clot
Dry socket vs clot


Blood clots happen to stop your body from bleeding too much when you are injured. Blood clots are gel-like collection of blood that forms when blood changes from liquid to solid. A blood clot starts when your blood vessel is injured. Another name for blood clot is a thrombus. The clot may stay in one spot (called thrombosis) or move through the body (called embolism or thromboembolism). A blood clot that moves around is more dangerous. They can also clot in the veins and arteries. 

Blood clot that occur in any of the large veins can move to the lungs and get stuck, this can stop blood flow in the body. They can form in the heart and cause heart attack or in the brain and cause stroke. When they clot in the abdomen, that can cause vomiting and pains. 


The symptoms you experience will depend on where the clotting happens.
Brain: When clotting happens in the brain, it can result to stroke,. The symptoms you can feel are difficulties in seeing and speaking, seizures and inability to use some parts of your body.
Abdomen: Clotting in the abdomen can cause pains and vomiting.
Heart: Heart attacks, sweating, chest pains and shortness of breath are the symptoms you can experience.
Arms and legs: Pain when touched, redness, swelling and tenderness of the area can be some of the symptoms you will feel.
Lungs: Blood clots in the lungs can cause difficulties in breathing and coughing out of blood.


Treatment methods can be: 

Compression socks: These socks can be used to put pressure that will help blood clots from forming.
Medications: Some medications that are anticoagulants can stop blood from clotting. 
Surgery: A surgical procedure can be used to remove these clots.
Stents: A stent is used to open a blood vessel in extreme cases.


You should know that there is a relationship between both dry socket vs clot. Dry sockets cannot form without clots. The clots forms to protect to protect nerve and new developing teeth but when these clots disintegrate from the extraction site, dry sockets develop.

You should know that for you to have dry sockets, there must be clotting on the gum. After a tooth extraction, an blood clot will usually heal on its own, while any pain from the procedure will gradually improve. Nothing should be done to disturb the clots. A blood clot appears as a dark-colored scab or red colored while a dry socket looks like an empty hole with whitish, bone like color.

Let’s look at some of the differences between dry socket vs clot

Clots do not change how the mouth smells, it produces no odour unless poor dental hygiene is maintained. A dry socket on the other hand, leas to bad breaths, this is because of the wound that happens when the clot disintegrates from the gum.

Blood clots stays on the site of the tooth extraction until the wound until it heals while dry socket does not show clots rather it removed from the extraction site.

Dry sockets produce pains that do not reduce but gets worsen unless a medical treatments are given. Clots can be painful bit the pains reduce as the day goes by.

When you have dry sockets in your mouth, your taste buds changes, foods and drinks will have bad taste whereas clots do not change the taste of food.

The more time dry sockets stay in the mouth, the more exposed your teeth tissues and nerves become. Clots staying on the extraction site protects these tissues and gums instead of exposing them.


Blood clots happen after tooth extraction, but to perform the function of protecting the nerves and new developing tooth. That means, they are important. Improper oral health care, bacteria and infection or unhealthy lifestyle like smoking can disrupt your healing process and causes dry socket. See a doctor if you feel pain or notice other symptoms so that treatments can be given.

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