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Dry socket is a painful condition that occurs when newly formed blood clots at the site of the tooth extraction do not develop correctly or are prematurely lost. Dry socket delays the healing process, much like picking at a scab on the knee delays the growth of new skin.
Research confirms that risk factors including smoking, taking oral contraceptives and insufficient oral health care habits significantly increase one's likelihood of dry socket, according to Jamie Houston, DMD, lead author of an article in the September/October 2002 issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.
Updated: October 2008
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