How To Identify Non-Dissolvable Stitches By Color

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

Are you wondering if your stitches are non-dissolvable? If they are you will need a follow up appointment to have them removed because they will not get resorbed by the body. That means they won’t fall out all on their own!

dissolvable white stitches next to black stitches blue stitches and purple stitches

The non-dissolving sutures typically have a distinct color which you can use to identify them. The best way to know is to ask your doctor but color matching does give you a general idea of which type they may be.

What color are non-dissolvable stitches?

Non-dissolvable stitches can come in different colors ranging from black, white, blue, green, and metal. Each color represents the type of material that the threads are made of. Therefore the specific non-resorbable suture can be readily identified simply by seeing what color they are. It is a crude way of figuring out what you have.

Below is a diagram showing the various different kinds of non-absorbable and absorbable stitches and their color.

Color chart of non-dissolvable stitches

Suture MaterialSuture Color
SilkBlack and virgin
Nylon (polyamide)Black and blue; Green
PolyesterGreen and white
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE/Gore-Tex®)White
Polyvinylidine fluoride (PVDF)Blue
Stainless steelSteel/Metallic

Please be aware that sometimes, the stitches can come undyed, which would make them colorless or white looking. The colors we listed are their dyed colors.

Each type of suture and their color

The sutures which do not dissolve can be grouped into three categories.

  • Natural
  • Synthetic
  • Metal

For the most part, they all look pretty similar aside from their color and texture.

All natural non-absorbable sutures

The most common all natural sutures are made of either silk or linen. They’re both materials which are commonly found in nature. If you want something organic, these two are you top choices.

Black stitches unboxing video

If you wanted definitive proof as to whether or not black stitches are dissolvable, we’ve an unboxing video for you.

Synthetic non-resorbable stitches

The synthetic non-dissolvable stitches are all man-made and they come in a variety of different materials. That also means they’ll come in different colors as well.

Based on our personal experience, the green stitches are more rare because we don’t see them that often.

Blue stitches unboxing video

We’ve unwrapped a pack of blue stitches to show you whether they are dissolvable or not.

Metal sutures

Yes, there are metal sutures and they’re stainless steel to be exact. Since they’re metal, their color would simply be metallic.

Situations they’d be used for:

  • Abdominal wound closure
  • Intestinal anastomosis
  • Hernia repair
  • Sternal closure
  • Skin closure

How to figure out if your stitches are non-dissolvable

The best way to identify which suture you have is by comparing their color to what we have listed. If the color looks the same then that is probably what it is.

How to identify your stitches:

  1. Go to a well lit room.
  2. Take a photo of it with flash on with your cell phone or camera.
  3. Compare the taken photo with the listed sutures.
types of sutures
Credit: medicshelf

If you don’t recognize the color that you have, you may have a dissolvable suture.

Alternatively you can always give your dentist a call and the receptionist can look in your notes to see what they used. That would actually be the most accurate way to know. Your answer may be a phone call away.

Non-absorbable sutures in the mouth

The two most common non-absorbable sutures that dentists like to use for the mouth are silk and PTFE. That means it’ll either look black or white in color. If you see either of those two colors you should know that you received non-dissolving stitches.

white stitches next to black stitches
Black silk sutures vs PTFE white sutures

As general preference, most wisdom teeth stitches tend to be dissolvable but your dentist may choose to use a non-dissolving one. It’s all based on their preference.

Dental procedures that tend to use non-resorbable sutures:

  • Bone grafting
  • Dental implants
  • Osseous surgery (gum surgery)
  • Gum grafting

Removing non-resorbable sutures

Since they are not self-dissolving, you will need to return to your doctor to have them physically removed. The suture removal process should be painless and quick.

How to take stitches out:

  1. Grab the stitch near the knot with college pliers.
  2. Lift it up 1-2mm.
  3. Snip underneath of the knot with surgical scissors.
  4. Pull the suture out.
what to expect for suture removal

Local anesthesia is typically not necessary for this appointment so you can rest assured. It will be much more pleasant than when you had to get them put in.


The color of the non-dissolvable suture will depend on the type of material that they’re made of. Different thread materials will come in different colors. Manufacturers dye them to be a particular color to help clinicians easily identify them.

Luckily for you, you can also use the same information to figure out whether yours are absorbable or non-absorbable as well! If they happen to be the latter, you will need to return to your doctor to have them removed.

Last but not least, some of them can come undyed which means they’ll look white in color!


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