Dry Socket Paste – Uses, Types & Costs
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Table of Contents
- What is Dry Socket Paste
- Types of Dry Socket Paste
- Side Effects
- How to Apply Dry Socket Paste
- Cost of Dry Socket Paste
- Alternative Treatments
Dry socket paste is a medicated paste dressing used to treat alveolar osteitis (dry socket), a possible complication of tooth extraction. It is typically made with 4% guaiacol and 4% eugenol in a petroleum base, but it can also be formulated with butamben and iodoform.
When applied by a dentist, dry socket paste relieves the pain of dry socket and sanitizes the area to reduce the chance of infection.
It is not considered safe for home use, but dentists often charge little to nothing for this service. If you do not want to use dry socket paste to manage your condition, some alternative treatments include medicated gauze, zinc oxide eugenol, and low-level laser therapy.
What is Dry Socket Paste?
Dry socket paste is a type of wound dressing used to treat alveolar osteitis, also known as dry socket. This condition is a possible complication of tooth extraction and most commonly occurs after wisdom tooth extractions, although but it can happen after any extraction.
Dry socket occurs when the blood clot that forms over the extraction site detaches from the gum tissue, leaving the bone and nerve underneath it exposed. This creates an intense, throbbing pain that can't be fully relieved by over-the-counter pain medications.
Traditional dry socket paste is made of 4% guaiacol and 4% eugenol mixed with a petroleum base. This makes a sticky, spreadable substance that your dentist can use to fill your empty tooth socket and cover the exposed bone beneath it.
In addition to their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, these two ingredients act as a moderate-strength analgesic when combined. This means that they can soothe painful inflamed tissues while also dulling the sensation of the pain itself. After a few days, the paste will resorb itself into the body.
Dry socket usually lasts between seven and 10 days, and many patients only need a single application of dry socket paste to make it through that period. However, some patients will need additional treatment, especially if they are experiencing further complications such as bone fragments or infection.
Do not hesitate to return to your dentist if you do not think your dry socket is healing properly. If the site does become infected, that infection could spread to your jawbone and become much more difficult to treat.
Types of Dry Socket Paste
Dry socket paste has evolved over the years. While the traditional formulation is still in use, a new version made with eugenol, butamben and iodoform has become popular in modern dental offices. These formulations may be sold under different brand names, including:
All formulations are safe for professional dental use and provide effective relief from dry socket symptoms. There is no significant difference between the two, so you can expect your treatment to be the same regardless of which type your dentist uses.
Dry socket paste is considered an effective treatment for most cases of dry socket. More severe cases may require additional pain relief from oral prescription medications.
If you are still in significant pain after receiving treatment with dry socket paste, schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist. Your medical professional will assess your case, check for any developing complications, and prescribe additional medications as needed.
Side Effects of Dry Socket Pastes
Dry socket pastes have minimal side effects and are considered safe even when accidentally swallowed. However, this procedure should not be used on people with guaiacol or eugenol sensitivity or on pregnant women.
Among the side effects you might experience after the procedure include headaches and stomach upsets, especially when ingested. These side effects are rare and mild. Cases of overusing or swallowing the medication have resulted in confusion, chest pain, dizziness and heart problems like abnormal heart rhythms.
How to Apply Dry Socket Paste
Because dry socket paste is not recommended for any other use, you cannot buy it from the drug store. Fortunately, the application procedure is quite simple, and dentists charge little to nothing for the procedure. Ideally, you'll spend less than $100 on the entire process.
The application process is straightforward and involves three steps:
- Cleaning the extraction site to prevent infection
- Applying the paste on the target site
- Taking as directed any prescription NSAIDs or other pain relief medicine
The paste should be applied only by a trained professional and with a dental expert's supervision.
Your dentist will also advise you on how to care for the spot for the next couple of weeks for the best results. Dry socket paste is highly effective in treating alveolar osteitis, and the pain should subside within a few hours of application.
How Much Does Dry Socket Paste Cost?
Dry socket paste is not recommended for unsupervised home use and can't be purchased outside of dental supply outlets. If you decide to purchase some through one of these outlets, it will cost you around $50 for 10 grams of product. However, the safer (and usually more affordable) way to get dry socket paste is to see your dentist for dry socket treatment.
Many dentists do not charge for dry socket treatment after you have had a tooth extracted at their office. Others will charge a nominal fee based on how severe your case is and whether you need additional X-rays to treat the problem. The fee for this service will usually include the cost of the dry socket paste.
The primary goal of dry socket treatment is to manage symptoms, not to speed healing. 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)
- Zinc oxide eugenol
- G.E.C.B. pastilles
- Plasma rich in growth factors
- Low level laser therapy
- Oral hydrogel dressings (SockIt!)
Not all dentists offer these alternative treatments, but many use at least one of them in addition to dry socket paste. This allows them to accommodate patients who are not good candidates for dry socket paste, such as pregnant women.
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