Dry socket is a painful situation that can happen after you have a tooth pulled, but it can be cured when your dentist washes out the socket and packs it with a dressing that is soaked with medicine. After a tooth is pulled (extracted), the hole where the tooth used to be (called the socket) usually gets filled by a blood clot. The blood clot protects the socket from exposure to air and bits of food. When the bone and gum tissue begin healing, they take the place of the protective blood clot.
Sometimes, though, the blood clot gets washed away before all the healing has happened, exposing the socket to air and food and leaving you in a lot of pain. The dentist can help by washing out the socket, giving you an anesthetic to reduce your pain, and packing the socket with a medicated dressing or paste. This treatment may need to be repeated daily or every several days until the socket heals on its own.