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J Ir Dent Assoc. 2011 Dec-2012 Jan;57(6):305-10.

The management of dry socket/alveolar osteitis.

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Dublin Dental School and Hospital, Dublin 2.


Dry socket/alveolar osteitis is a very debilitating, severely painful but relatively common complication following dental extractions. Its incidence is approximately 3% for all routine extractions and can reach over 30% for impacted mandibular third molars. A number of methods have been suggested in the literature as to how this condition may be prevented and managed. Most of these suggestions are empirical and not evidence based. This paper is a review of the literature on dry socket. The results of an audit carried out in the Dublin Dental School and Hospital are also presented and a suggestion is made as to how best this painful condition may be managed. Our audit showed that a wide range of treatments are being used in the treatment of dry socket: rinsing of the socket with chlorhexidine (74%) or saline (26%); placement of a non-resorbable obtundant dressing (56%); and, instruction in home rinsing of the socket with chlorhexidine (44%). This condition is one of the most examined topics in dentistry and is currently being researched in the Dublin Dental School and Hospital. Over the years little progress has been made in establishing firm conclusions as to how best dry socket should be managed. Our recommendations are based on a review of the literature, being the best available evidence on which to base our clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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