Alveolar osteitis is inflammation of the alveolar bone (i.e., the alveolar process of the maxilla or mandible). Classically, this occurs as a postoperative complication of tooth extraction. Alveolar osteitis usually occurs where the blood clot fails to form or is lost from the socket (i.e., the defect left in the gum when a tooth is taken out). This leaves an empty socket where bone is exposed to the oral cavity, causing a localized alveolar osteitis limited to the lamina dura (i.e., the bone which lines the socket). This specific type of alveolar osteitis is also known as dry socket or, less commonly, fibrinolytic alveolitis, and is associated with increased pain and delayed healing time. Dry socket occurs in about 0.5–5% of routine dental extractions, and in about 25–30% of extractions of impacted mandibular third molars (wisdom teeth which are buried in the bone).
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