An article in the October 2016 issue of the JADA addresses this question. It is commonplace for women of childbearing age (full range) to be on oral contraceptives (OC). It is anecdotal, but I do not feel that there is any difference in the rate of “dry socket” (DS) in women who are on or not on OC. But it does seem logical that hormonal changes, especially during menses, would cause body tissues to show increased fragility. The same process that allows the uterine lining to slough also can cause other lining tissues in the body to be fragile and separate. We certainly see this in oral tissues with the increased susceptibility to autoimmune reactions such as aphthous sores during these times. It may follow that healing tissues, such as an extraction socket which depends upon the stability of a bone – fibrin – endothelial interface, may be prone to breakdown/interruption in the healing process for certain individuals.  

We do not see many problems with osteitis or dry socket in our patient population as a whole. When we do I will ask questions about care and habits. I will also look at surgical risk factors such as infection, periodontal concerns, and difficulty of the treatment. Frankly, the only two things that I have found any consistency as to an increased incidence of osteitis (DS) is smoking in both men and women, and onset of menses in females. Smoking is far and away the greater risk and again, overall the incidence even in these groups is low.

The bottom line is that we do see a correlation with DS and the onset of menses. We do not see a correlation with just the use of oral contraceptives. Unless a patient has a specific concern or health issue I would not delay treatment because of the presence of these risks. I alert patients to the risks as is appropriate.

If you have questions, call Wagner Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Specialists at (262) 634-4646 to learn more.