Sometimes a crown or a filling is not an option and you find yourself getting a full extraction of your tooth. While this is unpleasant, on rare occasions it can be worse and you end up with bone fragments AFTER tooth extraction. Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered, and in this article we will talk about the causes of bone fragments, what to do to remediate them, and go a little into pain management just in case you can get help right away. If you are ready, let’s talk bone fragments!
Why do bone fragments occur and what are the types of fragmentation?
So, why do you end up with bone fragments after an extraction? Is the dentist not doing a proper job? It’s natural to wonder this but you can relax. Your dentist is doing their best, but sometimes following extractions as your adjacent teeth adjust then they end up pushing slivers of bone out from the now-removed tooth. This can end up poking through the tissue and is rather painful. Worse, it’s not something you will always see right away, in many cases these bone slivers show up within a few weeks of the actual extraction. There are also 3 times of bone fragments (also known as ‘bone spurs’) that can arise when you’ve had a tooth extracted. These fragments are named and identified as follows:
- Slithers – Slithers are thin fragments of your tooth that come up from between the roots. These are generally not serious and usually are noticeable right away, with your dentist removing them immediately following the extraction or after the bleeding stops.
- Spicules – Spicules are small bone fragments that sometimes occur with wisdom teeth removal. Manifesting as sharp edges poking up from the gum, your dentist can generally remove a spicule with tweezers
- Sequestrums – Sequestrums are the most common. These are bits of dead tooth that end up arising later after an extraction. They are particularly troubling, as they are painful and slow down the healing process. Sequestrums will generally require another visit to the dentist office for removal, so don’t poke it or try to remove it yourself. Leave it to the professionals!
Typically during your appointment with the dentist all that will be required is a little sedation and a quick removal of the bone shard. This will, of course, involve cleaning and sanitizing the area in order to prevent infection. In some cases, your dentist may also offer a process called Alveoloplasty, which is just fancy terminology for smoothing the area out, generally in preparation for a denture, as a form of preventative maintenance to assure no more bone protrusions appear through your gum tissue. While this procedure is not 100% guaranteed to prevent further bone spurs it is generally quite effective and in most cases you should suffer no bone spurs in that area as your healing progresses.
If the tooth extracted was a ‘baby tooth’, how long until it is replaced?
If another tooth is scheduled to be growing back in then we congratulate you on your good oral hygiene, not everyone takes such good care of their teeth! You will be happy to know that the process is actually pretty quick. Within a period of 1 to 2 weeks you should notice that the new tooth and gum tissue are making their
“First and foremost, do NOT pick at it.”
entrance and filling in that gap. In the meantime you should be very careful with hard foods. Your adjacent teeth are still adjusting and some aspects of your bite may ‘shift’ slightly. This is uncommon but if you notice some discomfort in chewing after your new tooth has grown in then you may want to consider checking with your dentist or local orthodontist to see about correcting the issue.
What can I do for the pain if I cannot get to the dentist right away?
If you will not be able to visit the dentist right away then there are a few things that you can do for the pain in the meantime. First and foremost, do NOT pick at it. Bone fragments are sharp and while it is difficult, keep your fingers and your tongue away from it or you will be risking cuts and abrasions. For pain management here are a few things which you can try:
- Over the counter medications – Over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen can help in a jiffy. Ibuprofen also has the added bonus of being anti-inflammatory, so it can help to take down the swelling if there is any. Avoid aspirin as it can encourage bleeding.
- Clove oil – 3-4 drops of clove oil on a cotton ball gives you something that you can lightly ‘bite down’ on in order to ease the pain. The taste is a little strong but if you give it 2 – 3 minutes you will notice that it is numbing down the area. Limit usage of this to twice a day as it is a little hard on the stomach beyond this.
- Turmeric paste – Take a half teaspoon of turmeric powder from your kitchen pantry or spice rack and mix it with a little water with your fingers until it forms the consistency of a paste. Apply this to the gum area where you are affected and this can help to reduce the swelling and ease the pain.
In this article we have discussed bone fragments, also known as bone spurs, which can occasionally occur following the extraction of a bad tooth. While uncommon, these can and do occur, so if you find that you have one or suspect it then you should contact your dentist immediately so that you can get it extracted. Bone spurs can slow down healing so even if the pain doesn’t bother you it is still a good idea to go to see the dentist in order to prevent further complications or a more expensive surgery at a later date if the tissue heals around the fragment!