Reviewed by Dr. J. Travis Thompson, DDS

You may have heard of bone spicules if you’ve recently undergone oral surgery, such as a tooth extraction or dental implant. These tiny fragments can sometimes cause discomfort during the healing process. 

While recovery is often straightforward, a small percentage of people may experience a bone spicule, also known as a dental bone spur, after oral surgery.

What does this mean, and how might it affect you? Let’s find out!

Table of Contents

What Is a Bone Spicule?

A bone spicule is a small, sharp bone fragment that can appear following dental procedures like tooth extractions or dental implant surgery. 

When a tooth is removed, the surrounding jawbone undergoes a natural process to reshape and adjust to the new space. 

Occasionally, small pieces of bone may not detach properly, leading to the formation of bone spurs or chips within the soft gum tissues.

Key Takeaway

Bone spicules, or dental bone spurs, can occur after tooth extractions, causing discomfort during healing. While they cannot be entirely prevented, following post-surgical care as directed by your oral surgeon can help minimize complications. Seek professional evaluation and potential removal if you suspect a bone spicule to relieve discomfort and prevent infection.

What Causes Bone Spicules?

The oral surgeon carefully removes the tooth and any attached soft tissue or bone from the socket during a tooth extraction. However, despite the best efforts of skilled professionals, tiny pieces of bone can sometimes get left behind. 

Bone spicules form naturally as the body heals, and the socket generates a blood clot. This clot initiates the healing process and can cause the remaining bone pieces to shift and potentially emerge, resulting in a bone spicule.

How Do I Know if I Have a Bone Spicule?

If you experience any of the following symptoms after a tooth extraction, you may have a bone spicule:

  • Visible sharp bone protruding from your gum tissue.
  • Pain or discomfort in the area surrounding the tooth extraction site.
  • Difficulty chewing or speaking due to the bone piece poking the soft tissue.
  • Swelling or inflammation in the affected area.

If you suspect a bone spicule, do not probe the area with your fingers or other objects, as this can introduce bacteria and increase the risk of infection. Consult your oral surgeon for an evaluation if you notice these symptoms during your wisdom teeth recovery process.

How Are Bone Spicules Treated?

Depending on the size and severity of the bone spicule, the treatment can differ. Some soft tissue irritation from more minor bone chips can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and other self-care measures.

If the bone fragment is sharp or causing significant discomfort, your dentist or oral surgeon may need to remove the piece carefully. This removal can usually be performed quickly and with minimal discomfort. For more complex cases, a minor surgical procedure may be required.

How Do I Prevent Bone Spurs?

Unfortunately, bone spicules are unpredictable and cannot entirely be prevented. However, following your dentist’s instructions and adhering to proper oral hygiene can significantly reduce your risk of complications. 

Read more about these home care instructions here, depending on your surgery type.

Tips for Wisdom Teeth Recovery

Wisdom tooth bone spicules are more common after third molar extractions, which are often impacted and require a more extensive healing process. 

To ensure smooth wisdom teeth recovery and avoid complications such as bone spurs or dry socket, follow these tips:

  • Take any prescribed medications as directed, such as antibiotics or painkillers.
  • Apply an ice pack to the affected area for the first 24 hours post-surgery to reduce swelling.
  • Eat soft foods that require little to no chewing,
  • Rest for at least 24 hours following the procedure.
  • Follow your dentist’s instructions on when to resume regular oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing.
  • Keep your mouth clean, rinsing gently with a warm salt-water solution or prescribed mouthwash.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help flush out bacteria.
  • Maintain a soft-food diet for the first few days to avoid irritating the extraction site.
  • Avoid smoking or using straws, as these actions can dislodge the blood clot.
  • Avoid heavy lifting or sports, as they can increase the risk of bleeding and slow the healing process.

For more details on the recovery process, read our blog, What To Expect After Wisdom Teeth Removal.

Your Trusted Oral Surgeon in Deer Park

After oral surgery, bone spicules can cause discomfort and complications during healing. These sharp bone fragments can irritate and damage surrounding tissues, leading to prolonged pain and delayed healing. They also increase the risk of infection and other complications.

At Oral Facial & Implant Specialists, we have the expertise and advanced techniques to promote proper healing and reduce the risk of complications. 

Our skilled oral surgeons, Dr. J. Travis Thompson and Dr. Stephen Martin, ensure a safe and comfortable experience so that you can recover quickly and regain your optimal oral health. 

Don’t let bone spicules disrupt your healing process – trust our specialists to provide you with the best care possible!

Call us at (847) 381-0106 or complete the online booking form if you are looking for an oral surgeon in Deer Park and Barrington.

If you are searching for an oral surgeon near me, contact Oral Facial & Implant Specialists.

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