A dry socket can occur within three days after a tooth extraction after a blood clot falls out of the socket. Without the blood clot present, the bone is exposed, which is extremely painful.
Symptoms of dry socket include pain radiating to the ear, radiating pain up and down the face and pain upon drinking cold water or breathing in cold air. Other symptoms are bad breath and an unpleasant smell and taste in the mouth.
It is imperative to keep the blood clot in the socket until the bone has a chance to fill the socket and essentially heal. Without the blood clot, the socket will take longer to heal and it will be quite painful during that period of time.