The non-healing extraction socket: a diagnostic dilemma – case report and discussion

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Henry, Cian
Irish Dental Assocation (IDA)
article description
Although the healing of extraction sockets is generally a rapid and uncomplicated process, delayed healing, overt infection, or failure of recent exodontia sites to heal can occur. Delayed healing is reported to occur in less than 11% of all extractions.1 A variety of factors may be implicated and the dental clinician must be aware pre-operatively of both local and systemic influences. The vast majority of cases are the result of innocuous, local factors such as dry socket or infection.1 However, the potentially life-threatening, malignant lesions complicating this phenomenon can be underestimated.2-8 Therefore, it is incumbent on dental professionals to familiarise themselves with the normal inflammatory and reparative processes involved in the restitution of mucosal continuity which follow extraction, and the potential pathological lesions that interfere with healing. Failure of an extraction socket to exhibit satisfactory signs of healing in a timely manner (within three to four weeks) warrants urgent referral to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for investigation.