Why does bone spur (bone spicule) stick out in your gum?

Bone spur in your gum can happen spontaneously or because of surgical dental treatment that you have recently done.

If you have

  • performed a tooth extraction,
  • undergone an oral surgery on jawbone or periodontal part of your gum
  • taken certain medications to treat bone disorders and diseases like bisphosphonate drugs
  • performed radiation or chemotherapy

You are more likely to see a sharp bone that appears out of gums and soft tissues in your mouth. This doesn’t usually happen but bone spur exists in the location of your previous oral surgical procedure.

What is a bone spur (bone spicule)?

Bone spur, also called bone spicule, is the appearance of bony parts in your gum’s soft tissue. Bone spicule is like an extra piece of bone that is trapped in your gum and can cause pain, infection, and swelling in its site in your gum. It is caused due to diseases, oral surgery (e.g. tooth extraction), medications, and dental trauma or injury.

A bone spur or bone spicule in the gum is medically called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Necrosis means dead and here it means a dead bone fragment, which pokes out from your gum. It can happen in both jaws and you usually think it is your broken teeth but it is not.

The causes of bone spur in your gum

There are several causes for the sharp bony parts that stick out of your gums.

  • A tooth extraction
  • Dental injury
  • Medications (some bisphosphonates drugs)
  • Poor oral health and lack of nutrition and vitamins
  • Oral surgeries like periodontal surgery or dental implant surgery
  • Radiation therapy and chemotherapy
  • Smoking and alcohol use (especially during major health issues)

Where do bone spurs usually appear?

Bone spicules appear around the bony parts inside your mouth, where your ligament and the jaw bones are. The most common site for bone spurs are:

  • In your gums both the upper and lower jaw
  • The locations in the mouth where you have had a tooth extraction
  • The location of surgical procedures that involve your jaw bone like periodontal surgery or dental implant

Common symptoms of bone spur in your gums

People can feel the sharp or masses of bone that show up in and around their gums. You may get worried about this unwanted bony part in your mouth, which can cause irritation to other soft tissues like your inner cheek, tongue, or lips. If you want to make sure whether these are the same bony parts that we are talking about, which stick out in your gum, you will better know the signs and symptoms.

If you have a bone spicule in your gums, you will have these symptoms:

  • The bone piece that protrudes in your gum (easy to see by a quick look) 
  • Pain
  • Redness and irritation
  • Swelling in your gum and soft tissue around
  • Tooth/teeth loose
  • Infection

Gum bone spur pictures

Bone spurs look like a hard bump of extra bone sticking out under your gums.

How long do bone spurs in your gum last?

Bone spur can exist in your gum usually for weeks or months after your dental surgery of tooth extraction or other oral surgeries involving the jaw bone. Bone spur can show no symptoms and be trapped in your gum for weeks and months. Once the sharp bony fragments appear in your gum, it causes pain and swelling before it is surgically removed by your dentist.


After taking X-rays, MRI scanning or other radiographic imaging, your dentist can confirm whether it is bone fragment from bone spur or it is just another oral lesion that has been causing problems. Dentists or maxillofacial surgeons can start the treatment of bone spicule in your gum with an oral hygiene regimen and systemic antibiotic therapy.

Because of the infection and inflammation in the exposed bone area in your gum, it is important to maintain oral health in the first place. This is why your dentist will prescribe oral hygiene products like mouthwashes that have chlorhexidine ingredient to better fight off bacterial activity. Then your dentist resorts to antibiotic therapy to stop your inflammation, infection, and pain in the exposed bone site of your gum.

Finally comes the surgery to remove the bone spur in your gum. The surgical treatment for bone spur is the removal or excision of the exposed bone or soft tissues around it. This is done with surgeries like sequestrectomy (the medical name for dead bone removal) or other surgical procedures that your expert dentist can recommend based on the stage of your bone appearance in the gum.

Can you treat bone spur in your gum at home?

If by treating we mean reduce the inflammation and infection, yes and we should choose that as part of our early stages of treatment. We should keep on cleaning our mouth and teeth in our daily oral hygiene activity. But the removal of the bone spicule and bone fragments in our gum is the dentist or a dental specialist’s job at the hospital or clinic.

Home care for bone spur before and after treatment

Your dentist will determine if your problem is in fact a bone spur. If there is no chance of natural eruption of this unwanted material, they can recommend extraction of the bone spur to reduce your pain and prevent infection. It is important to continue brushing and flossing and avoid trying to remove or dislodge the bone on your own.

There are also some ways that might help prevent bone spur. Also, remember to follow your dentist’s instructions if that occurs. Here are some caring tips:

  • Follow routine oral hygiene practices.
  • Quit smoking and alcohol to enjoy better oral health with the least chance of risks for an oral disease.
  • Have a healthy choice of diets with nutrients and vitamins especially those individuals who take medications, are in senior ages, undergo radiation or chemotherapy treatment, and those people having an oral surgical procedure.  
  • Use mouthwashes especially those that contain chlorhexidine if your dentist requires you to do.
  • Avoid irritating the exposed sharp bone in your gum and the surrounding location since you may cause more pain and discomfort.
  • Avoid having a dental treatment or dental surgery while you are undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. Try to fix any tooth problem before starting your chemotherapy.
  • Check out your dosage and use of common medication in bone disorder and bone recovery treatments like bisphosphonate drugs.
  • Have your ill-fitting dentures and bridges fixed if you are wearing these dental appliances.   


  1. Minimum apathy on

    Father (71) is a smoker and a recovering alcoholic. Wears dentures. Only went to his dentist when the pain from this sore was unbearable. The shard of calcification was filed down (as far as he told me), and the pain somewhat subsided. A few days later, the pain returned. I know he was not keeping it properly cleaned.

    Went for a follow up appointment yesterday, and the dentist noted infection and also a new growth that was not present a week before. Recommended oral surgery to remove more bone spurs (?) as well as biopsy. Prescribed antibiotics.

    Today he is running a fever. Should we give the antibiotics a chance to run their course, or is this urgent enough to be seen by a physician?

    • Antibiotics take around 24 hours to take effect. If things aren’t improving, contact your dentist and they may prescribe a different antibiotic. If things are getting really bad, play it safe by seeing a physician

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