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Painful Bone Fragments After Teeth Extractions

author image Scott Amato
Scott Amato has been a sportswriter for a major Midwestern daily newspaper since 1985. He has covered professional baseball, football and hockey. In addition, Amato has contributed to sports publications throughout the United States and Japan. He has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Ohio University.
Painful Bone Fragments After Teeth Extractions
Bone fragments are common after teeth extractions, and they can be painful. Photo Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images

Extraction is often necessary to remove impacted or infected teeth, and it can cause painful bone fragments. Bone fragments are common, but not often serious. They usually heal on their own, but you'll often feel discomfort during the process. Your dentist or oral surgeon can take corrective action for more serious cases of bone fragments.

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The Cause

Bone surrounding teeth is often fractured during extractions. In most cases, they are "greenstick" fractures and are discovered in bones above the extracted tooth socket. Greenstick fractures can be painful, but they typically heal on their own and reattach to the main socket bone. More serious bone fragments that cause pain and swelling can be removed by your dentist or oral surgeon.


Sequestrums are small pieces of dead bone that rise to the surface of the tooth socket during extractions. Sequestrums are most often found after difficult extractions. Sequestrums can be painful because they disturb the healing process in the extracted tooth socket. Your dentist can go back in the socket after the extraction and remove the dead bone fragments.


A spicule is a tiny bone fragment usually caused when wisdom teeth are extracted. When a wisdom tooth is attached to a bone in the jaw, a fragment can be left inside the gum after extraction. Spicule's are sharp fragments of bone, and they can cut and scrape the inside of the mouth and tongue. Your dentist can quickly remove spicules with tweezers.

Bone Slithers

Slithers are thin fragments of bone between the roots of the tooth. During an extraction, the slithers come to the surface of the socket. Slithers are common byproducts of extractions and are not serious. They can be removed right after the extraction, or later after the bleeding stops. Slithers left unattended can slow healing in the tooth socket, causing pain.

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