Reviewed by Dr. Gary Morris, DDS

Following a tooth extraction, especially wisdom teeth, you might feel a sharp piece of bone in your gum tissue. This is likely a bone spicule, a small fragment of bone that becomes dislodged during the healing process.

This blog will explain why bone spicules form, their symptoms, and how they are treated, ensuring your path to recovery is as smooth as possible.

Key Takeaway

Bone spicules are tiny bone fragments that can form after a tooth extraction. Treatment typically involves monitoring or removal by a dentist.

How Bone Spicules Form

Bone spicules, also known as dental bone spurs or bone chips, are a natural part of your body’s healing process after a tooth extraction. When a tooth is removed, the surrounding bone socket needs to reshape and fill in

During this process, tiny pieces of bone may break off and become embedded in the gum tissue. These bone pieces are usually harmless, but they can cause discomfort.

Common Causes

  1. Natural process: After a tooth is removed, the body naturally begins to heal the site. Sometimes, this involves the bone that supported the tooth reshaping and smoothing out.
  2. Traumatic injuries: In some cases, especially with traumatic injuries or surgical extractions like wisdom tooth extraction, small pieces of bone or tooth fragments may get dislodged but not completely removed.
  3. Surgical procedure: During the extraction process, despite an oral surgeon’s best efforts, tiny bone chips or fragments can sometimes be left behind or form as the extraction site heals.

Symptoms of Bone Spicules

Here are some signs you might have a bone spicule:

  • Sharpness: You feel a sharp point or edge in your gum tissue with your tongue or finger.
  • Pain: The area around the spicule may be sore or painful, especially when touched.
  • Inflammation: The gum tissue around the spicule may be red and swollen.

Consequences of Untreated Bone Spicules

While typically harmless, neglecting bone spicules can lead to:

  • Increased discomfort. The sharp bone fragment can irritate your gums and cause ongoing pain.
  • Infection. If the spicule creates a pocket in the gum tissue, it can trap food debris and bacteria, increasing your risk of infection.
  • Delayed healing. Bone spicules can slow down the healing process of the extraction site.

What to Do If You Think You Have a Bone Spicule

If you suspect a bone spicule, here’s what to do:

  • Contact your dentist: Don’t try to remove the spicule yourself. This could irritate the area further and increase your risk of infection.
  • Schedule an appointment: Your dentist will examine the area and determine the best course of action.

Treatment Options for Bone Spicules

The treatment for a bone spicule depends on its size and the discomfort it causes. Here are some options:

  • Conservative management: In many cases, your dentist might recommend a wait-and-see approach. The body often naturally pushes the bone fragment out of the gum tissue over time.
  • Pain relief: To manage discomfort, your dentist might recommend over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Removal: If the spicule is causing significant pain or isn’t budging on its own, your dentist might recommend removal. This can be done in a simple in-office procedure using local anesthesia and special instruments.

Alveoloplasty and Socket Preservation Techniques

To minimize the risk of bone spicules after tooth extraction, your dentist may recommend additional procedures:

  • Alveoloplasty: This surgical procedure involves smoothing out the edges of the bone socket after a tooth extraction. This reduces the chance of sharp bone fragments developing.
  • Socket preservation techniques: These techniques involve placing materials like bone grafts or collagen membranes in the extraction socket to promote proper healing and bone regeneration. This minimizes the amount of bone resorption and reduces the risk of bone spicules.


Bone spicules are more common after wisdom tooth extraction due to the complex shape of the wisdom teeth and the surrounding jawbone.

Maintain good oral hygiene after a tooth extraction. It is crucial to prevent infection and promote healing. This includes gentle rinsing with salt water and brushing your teeth carefully around the extraction site.

If you experience symptoms like fever, swelling, or pus around the extraction site, consult your dentist immediately, as these could indicate an infection.

Morris Dental Solutions: Your Dentist in Buffalo Grove, IL

Bone spicules can be a frustrating complication after tooth extraction. That’s why our team at Morris Dental Solutions in Buffalo Grove, IL is dedicated to providing comprehensive care and addressing any concerns you may have after tooth extraction.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a bone spicule or have any questions about your recovery after a tooth extraction, please reach out to us. Call (847) 215-1511 or complete the online booking form.

FAQs About Bone Spicule

How long does it take for a bone spicule to resolve on its own?

The time it takes for a bone spicule to resolve naturally can vary. In some cases, the body may expel the fragment within a few weeks, while in others, it may take a few months. Your dentist will monitor the situation to ensure there are no complications.

Are there preventative steps to avoid bone spicules after a tooth extraction?

Yes. Procedures like alveoloplasty and socket preservation techniques can minimize the risk of developing bone spicules. These involve smoothing out the bone and promoting proper healing of the extraction socket.

Can I remove a bone spicule myself?

No, it is not recommended to try removing a bone spicule yourself. This can irritate the area and increase the risk of infection. It’s best to consult your dentist for proper evaluation and treatment

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