23 July 2017
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Post extraction Socket dressings: What am I using?

Post extraction Socket dressings: What am I using?

Packing a tooth socket post extraction is commonly used as a treatment for complications, or as an additional aid to haemostasis. As dental students we will use the socket dressings that our tutors tell us to use. We may have become familiar with some names banded about like Alvogyl and Surgicel, but what are these medicaments, and how do they work? Below, we aim to cover the active ingredients of commonly used socket dressings, but is not a definitive list of the available options.

Dry/Infected Socket

    ZOE Paste

    Symptomatic relief for dry socket, packed and replaced every 3 days for a week; contains:

    • Eugenol: Analgesic


    A dry socket treatment which, when placed provides rapid pain relief. It is self eliminating and has three active ingredients:

    • Butamben: Anaesthetic
    • Iodoform: Antimicrobial
    • Eugenol: Analgesic

    Sultan Dry Socket Paste (GECB)

    As the name suggests, an alternative treatment for localised alveolar osteitis, applied directly to the socket and remains for 3-5 days as the socket heals. Active ingredients include:

    • Guaiacol: Eugenol-like phenolic combination acts as strong analgesic
    • Eugenol: Analgesic
    • 1.6% Chlorobutanol: Antibacterial and Antifunghal

    Bismuth Subnitrate, Iodoform and Paraffin Paste (B.I.P.P)

    A less common and older paste used for dry socket, will require changing 2 days after placing, then weekly until the socket is epithelialized. It’s active ingredients are:

    • Bismuth Subnitrate: Astringent
    • Iodoform: Antimicrobial

Haemostatic Agents


    A gauze-like mesh used as a haemostatic agent post extraction. It’s main active component is:

    • Oxidised Regenerated Cellulose: Attracts platelets to facilitate haemostasis.


    Fibrous mesh which forms a firm gel on contact with wound surface. Should not be in place for more than 7 days. It works by forming:

    • Calcium Alginate: Antibacterial against Staph.Aureus, and has capacity to heal a wound.

    Hemcon Dental Dressing

    A relatively new haemostatic agent that also exhibits antimicrobial and wound healing capabilities. The active component is:

    • Chitosan: Naturally occurring cationic polysaccharide that attracts negatively charged red blood cells to create a physical barrier. Also antimicrobial. Made from chitin within shellfish.