Reviewed by Dr. Benjamin Foley and Dr. Thao Le

A tooth extraction can be a stressful event for many patients. However, knowing how to handle post-extraction complications such as a bone spicule can make the recovery process smoother and more comfortable.

In this post, we’ll discuss what a bone spicule is, how it forms, and what symptoms to watch out for. We’ll also provide some tips on how to deal with bone spicules following a tooth extraction.

Table of Contents

What is a Bone Spicule?

A bone spicule, also known as a dental bone spur, is a bone fragment that becomes exposed following a tooth extraction. Most notably, a wisdom tooth bone spicule can occur after a wisdom tooth extraction due to the natural contours and complexities of the jawbone in this region. A bone spicule after tooth extraction can be a source of discomfort and might lead to complications if not dealt with promptly.

How Do Bone Spicules Form?

Bone spicules are typically a result of the body’s natural healing process after tooth extraction. When a tooth is removed, the bone that once supported it may produce small, sharp spurs as it begins to reshape and heal. These spurs can then become dislodged in the extraction site, causing discomfort and even infection if left untreated.

Symptoms of a Bone Spicule

The most common symptoms of a bone spicule after tooth extraction include:

  • Persistent pain or discomfort at the extraction site
  • Swelling or inflammation
  • A feeling of something sharp in the gum tissue
  • Signs of infection include fever, pus, headache, inflammation or redness

These symptoms can vary depending on the size and location of the bone spicule.

Key Takeaway

A bone spicule is a fragment of bone that become exposed after a tooth extraction. They often go away on their own, but if they do not, treatment options include: conservative management, manual removal or surgical removal.

What to Do If You Suspect a Bone Spicule

If you suspect you have a bone spicule, contact your oral surgeon at Foley & Le as soon as possible to prevent complications. We will be able to assess the situation and determine the best course of action for you.

In the meantime, you can try the following to manage the discomfort:

  • Rinse your mouth gently with warm saltwater to reduce inflammation and minimize the risk of infection.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate pain, but be sure to follow the recommended dosage instruction.
  • Rub pain-relieving oral gel over the extraction site.
  • Avoid spicy, hard, or crunchy foods that may irritate the extraction site.

Possible Consequences if Left Untreated

If a bone spicule is left untreated, it can lead to complications such as:

  • Infection at the extraction site
  • Delayed healing or prolonged discomfort
  • The need for further surgical intervention

Treatment Options for Bone Spicules

Depending on the severity, the following treatments may be recommended for bone spicules:

  • Conservative management: This typically involves monitoring the area and allowing the bone spicule to work its way out naturally, aided by frequent saline rinses.
  • Manual removal: In some cases, your dentist or oral surgeon may be able to remove the bone spicule using a special instrument without the need for further surgery.
  • Surgical removal: If the bone spicule is particularly large or causing complications, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend a minor surgical procedure to remove the spicule.

Alveoloplasty Procedure

An alveoloplasty is a surgical technique performed after a tooth extraction, in preparation for dental implants or before a denture fitting. Its primary purpose is to smooth and reshape the jawbone’s ridge, known as the alveolar ridge, to create a more suitable foundation for prosthetic teeth.

This procedure helps prevent the formation of bone spicules. By carefully removing any remaining bony irregularities and contouring the ridge, alveoloplasty promotes proper healing and reduces the risk of discomfort or complications during the placement of dental implants or dentures.

Socket Preservation (Bone Grafting) Procedure

Frequently the best way to treat a bone spicule is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The most effective way to do this is to have socket preservation bone grafting performed at the time of extraction. By filling the extraction site with bone, it allows the soft tissue to cover the extraction site more quickly, which prevents the development of bone spicules.


Bone spicules can be a source of discomfort following tooth extraction and can potentially lead to infection or delayed healing if left untreated. If you have recently had a tooth extraction and think you may have a bone spicule, contact your oral surgeon at Foley & Le immediately to determine the best course of action for your situation.

With proper care and attention, you can rest assured that the issue will be resolved promptly, allowing you to get back to enjoying life with your new smile!

Foley & Le – Your Oral Surgeon in Boulder, CO

When it comes to oral surgery, finding a trusted and experienced surgeon can be a challenge.

You don’t want to put your oral health in the hands of just anyone. Mistakes or inexperience can have serious consequences and impact your quality of life.

Look no further than Foley & Le Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. With years of expertise and a reputation for excellence, our team of skilled surgeons will ensure you receive top-quality care for all your oral surgery needs. Trust us to provide the expertise and precision you deserve.

To book an appointment with one of our skilled surgeons, call (303) 444-2255 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form.

FAQs About Bone Spicules

Can You Remove Bone Spicules Yourself?

No, you should never attempt to remove a bone spicule on your own. Doing so can cause further damage or lead to infection. Contact your dentist or oral surgeon for professional help with this issue.

Will Bone Spicules Go Away on Their Own?

In some cases, yes. However, the process can be slow and cause discomfort. If you suspect you have a bone spicule, it’s best to have it professionally assessed by your dentist or oral surgeon to determine the best course of action.

What Do Bone Spicules Feel Like?

A bone spicule may feel like a sharp, pointed object lodged in the gum tissue. It can also cause persistent pain or discomfort at the extraction site.

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