How Long Do Dissolvable Stitches Last In The Mouth

Hand written by Dr David Chen, an actively practicing dentist and avid writer. #doctorswrite

Dissolvable stitches should last about 10-14 days in the mouth before they fall out all on their own. Although they may not last as long and can fall out sooner if your dentist used the faster resorbing sutures.

chromic gut

Therefore how long they last will ultimately depend on the specific type of stitches that your dentist used. However based on dentist preference, the most commonly used suture is the chromic gut and that one lasts about 10-14 days before falling out.

Nonetheless, let’s review everything that you would even need to know about the longevity of self-dissolving stitches.

Types of dissolvable stitches

The most commonly used dissolvable stitches in the mouth by dentists are mainly variations of catgut sutures with the exception of vicryl. Although in the dental community, we simply refer to the catgut as “gut sutures” for short.

Type of Dissolvable SutureDissolution Time
Fast absorbing gut5-7 days
Plain gut7-10 days
Chromic gut10-14 days
Vicryl rapide10-14 days
Types of dissolvable stitches and when they dissolve – Chart

Before you go thinking if these stitches are made of the guts of cats, the answer is no. The catgut sutures are mainly composed of collagen but they’re made from the guts of ruminant animals (cows, sheeps, goats).

It prevents a lot of misunderstandings when we just say gut sutures instead of catgut!

Fast absorbing gut

The fast absorbing gut sutures are typically not used in the mouth since they fall out a little too quickly at 5-7 days. It isn’t strong enough for the muscular soft tissues in the oral cavity.

fast absorbing gut

Where dentists use the fast gut is for pediatric facial lacerations. That is if an infant or child gets a cut on their face or lip. This is the ideal one to use for kids.

Plain gut

The plain gut sutures are an option to be used in the mouth and while some dentists carry it in their office, most prefer their stronger counterpart, chromic gut. They are somewhat in between the fast gut and the chromic gut in terms of strength. They will last about 7-10 days before falling out.

Chromic gut

The workhorse for dissolvable sutures after dental surgeries is the chromic gut suture. It lasts for about 10-14 days so it is more than sufficient strength wise to handle all of your intraoral needs.

This is the most commonly used sutures for the vast majority of extractions. In fact, it may be the only one that dentists stock in their office. That is how common and favored it is among the dental community.

The chromic gut lasts longer in the mouth because it is coated in chromic salts. This coating with salts help it resist enzymatic degradation from the boyd.

Vicryl rapide

The vicryl sutures are sometimes used by oral surgeons. They can be used in the mouth since they’re practically interchangeable with the chromic gut. They last about the same time, 10-14 days.

Although in our experience, we often used the vicryl for laceration repairs such as for deep intraoral soft tissues or even the tongue.

Vicryl vs Catgut

The main difference between the two is that catgut is all natural while vicryl is synthetic. The gut sutures are literally made out of the gut of ruminant animals. The vicryl rapide is lab made so it is synthetic.

Caveat to how long dissolvable stitches last

Although we stated in the chart above about the dissolving time for various stitches in the mouth, that is the effective time that it lasts. What we mean by that is those are the times when you can expect the stitches to “fall out of your mouth.”According to the chart, most of them should’ve fallen out by the end of the second week.

However the sutures technically do not become fully resorbed by the body until about 3 months later. That is the time it takes for your body to completely break it down and take it in.

For further clarification, what we mean by this is that usually by the end of the second week, most of it would’ve fallen out on its own. Although there may be pieces that are still left which are embedded in your gums. These residual pieces of stitches may not be noticeable to you but they are there and they won’t completely get resorbed until about 90 days later.

Wisdom teeth stitches vs non-wisdom teeth

When wisdom teeth stitches dissolve is the same as non-wisdom teeth ones. That means all sutures that are used in the mouth are not affected by which tooth socket they are placed in. The reason is because the material dictates when they get degraded. Therefore, everything that we’ve spoke about here will apply to the entire mouth.

How sutures dissolve

The stitches that are made of catgut are literally made of the intestinal linings from ruminant animals and it consists of mostly collagen. As you can imagine, your body breaks it down with enzymes just like how it does so with food. You can almost think of it as if it was “food” in a sense.

The vicryl on the other hand is made of a resorbable copolymer of glycolic acid and lactic acid called Polyglactin 910. Both of which are commonly found substances and byproducts in the human body.

Can you make them dissolve faster?

While there is no scientific study which has proven it, we do have a theory as to how to make it happen. Perhaps you can try drinking pineapple juice to see if it helps?

What to expect if you’ve self dissolving stitches

If you had a wisdom tooth extraction or any extraction for that matter and you were given dissolvable stitches, you can expect it to last about 2 weeks at most. By the end of 14 days, most of it should’ve fallen out all on it’s own.

However in our experience, most people tend to heal fairly quickly and the sutures may come out a little sooner than that. If that happens to be you, don’t be surprised. Just be thankful that it was gone sooner than later because it can irritate your cheeks, lips, and tongue!

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