Reviewed by Dr. Jason Fluckiger, DMD

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If you’ve recently had a tooth extraction, you may have noticed small, sharp fragments of bone in the extraction site. These are known as bone spicules and can cause discomfort or irritation if left untreated.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what bone spicules are, why they may occur after tooth extraction, and how to manage them.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

A bone spicule is a small, sharp piece of bone that can sometimes develop after a tooth extraction. They are usually managed conservatively but may sometimes require a minor surgery to remove them.

What is a Bone Spicule?

A bone spicule is a small, sharp piece of bone that can sometimes develop after a tooth extraction. These bone fragments, also known as dental bone spurs, can form when a tooth is removed.

When a tooth is extracted, the bone that once supported the tooth may produce small, sharp spurs as it begins to reshape and heal.  During this process, bone chips or bone pieces can get trapped in the soft tissues of the gums.

Two surgical procedures can be performed to prevent the occurrence of these spicules: alveoloplasty and socket preservation.

What is an Alveoloplasty?

An alveoloplasty is a surgical procedure that can be performed after a tooth extraction to reshape and smooth the underlying bone. This helps to prevent sharp bone spurs from forming and reduces the risk of post-operative complications.

For more information on this procedure, read Alveoloplasty: A Comprehensive Guide from AZ Max Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons.

What is Socket Preservation?

Socket preservation, also known as ridge preservation, is another surgical procedure that can be done after tooth extraction to maintain the shape and structure of the alveolar ridge, which is the bone that holds the tooth in place. This procedure involves filling the empty socket with a bone graft material to promote healing and prevent spicule formation.

Both of these procedures can be done immediately after a tooth extraction or at a later time if necessary. We may recommend one of these procedures if you are planning on getting a dental implant in the future.

Now that we have explored the procedures that can prevent spicule formation, it’s essential to understand how to recognize if bone spicules have already started to form. Let’s delve into the common signs and symptoms of bone spicules.

Symptoms of a Bone Spicules

Symptoms of bone spicules may be mild or severe, depending on the size and location of the bone fragment. The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the area of the tooth extraction
  • A feeling of sharpness or something “poking” the gum tissue, especially under a new denture.
  • Swelling and inflammation around the extraction site
  • Signs of infection include headache, inflammation, redness or pus

If you experience any of these symptoms after a tooth extraction at AZ Max, it’s important to let your oral surgeon know. If you are not able to get an appointment right away, there are a few things that you can do at home to alleviate the discomfort.

How to Manage Bone Spicules

If you suspect that you may have bone spicules, here are some ways to manage them until you can see your oral surgeon:

  1. Rinse with warm salt water: Rinsing with warm salt water can help reduce inflammation and prevent infection.  Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth gently.
  2. Take over-the-counter pain medication: If you are experiencing discomfort, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen to alleviate the pain. Make sure to follow the recommended dosage on the packaging.
  3. Rub pain relieving gel on the affected area: You can also rub a topical pain relieving gel, such as Orajel, onto the affected area to temporarily numb the discomfort.

It’s important to note that these home remedies are temporary solutions and do not address the underlying issue. It’s best to schedule an appointment with your oral surgeon to discuss treatment options.

Treatment Options for Bone Spicules

In many cases, a bone spicule can be managed conservatively. This typically involves watching the area closely and allowing the spicule to come out on its own. Frequent saline solutions will help to dislodge the spicule, and with time, it should be pushed out of the gum tissue.

If your bone spicules are causing severe discomfort or infection, your oral surgeon may recommend removing them. If the bone spicule is small, it can be removed using special instruments without requiring another surgery. If it is large or causing complications, we may recommend a minor surgical procedure to remove it.

AZ Max-Your Oral Surgeon in Mesa AZ

At AZ Max Oral Surgery, our highly skilled oral surgeons are dedicated to ensuring that tooth extractions are performed with the utmost care and precision.  In the rare event of bone spicules forming after a tooth extraction, rest assured that we have the expertise and experience to help manage and treat them.

If you have recently had a tooth extracted at AZ Max, we encourage you to follow the post-operative instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and a swift recovery. However, we know that even with the most diligent care, complications may arise.

If you suspect that you may have bone spicules or are experiencing any discomfort after a tooth extraction, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further guidance and assistance. Your comfort and well-being are our top priorities, and we are here to help every step of the way. 

If you suspect that you have a bone spicule, call (480) 830-5866 to book an appointment with your surgeon.  We will do our best to see you as soon as possible.

If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon in Mesa AZ’ or ‘the best oral surgeon near me’, we can help. To book an appointment at one of our five locations, call (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form

Additional Resources

How to Avoid Infection After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Who Should Perform Wisdom Tooth Extraction: Dentist or Oral Surgeon?

Why Replacing a Lost Tooth is Important