If you had stitches placed after your wisdom teeth extraction, they’re supposed to either come out or be removed at some point. They’re not meant to stay in your mouth forever because your body views it as a foreign body and that results in a low level of chronic inflammation.
With that being said, when you can expect them to come out would depend on if they’re dissolvable or non-dissolvable. Most wisdom teeth stitches should be dissolvable and that is based on the personal preference of dentists and oral surgeons. Although the only way to be certain is to ask your dentist!
When dissolvable stitches come out
Depending on the type of dissolvable suture that your dentist used, they should dissolve enough and fall out after 5-14 days. Yes, there are many types that are made of different materials and consequently some are more resistant to dissolution.
|Type of Dissolvable Suture
|Fast absorbing gut
We listed the four most commonly used resorbing sutures that dentists use and their dissolution time. The time that is stated is when we expect the sutures to dissolve enough that it becomes weakened to the point where they fall out on their own. You can tell it’s almost time when they look like they’re hanging on by a thread.
Technically these stitches do not completely dissolve until about 3 months later. Residual pieces that are left inside the gums would take that long for your body to break them down completely.
It’s just that most of the stitches that you can visually see will weaken to the point where the bulk of it will simply fall out.
How can I tell if they’re resorbable?
The best way to know is to ask your dentist and they most likely told you before sending you home. However if you forgot, you may be able to identify the wisdom teeth stitches based on their color.
Please check out our article above for more information in regards to that. Although just to let you know, it’ll most likely be either violet or yellow/gold in color.
When non-dissolvable stitches come out
As its name implies, non-dissolvable stitches will not resorb and come out on their own. The body isn’t able to break them down so you will need to return to your dentist to have them removed.
On average, most dentists prefer to keep these stitches in for at least one week. However it is up to their personal preference and the needs of your situation. Don’t be surprised if they ask you to come back in 2 weeks to have them removed.
Usually if you were given the non-dissolable ones, your dentist would’ve given you a follow up appointment for suture removal.
What to expect for suture removal
The stitches removal appointment should be very quick and take about 5-10 minutes at most.
- No anesthesia necessary, not even the numbing gel.
- Lift the stitch up with college pliers.
- Snip the suture with surgical scissors.
- Pull it all the way out.
- Repeat for each surgical knot.
It may feel a little weird when they get pulled out but it shouldn’t hurt. We’ve personally never had to numb anyone for removing them. Although we suppose there could always be the first.
Different types of non-dissolving sutures
The non-resorbing sutures do come in different types of materials.
Since none of them dissolve, they will all need to be removed by your dentist. Therefore the material that they’re made of is inconsequential to you.
What if they fall out early?
Sometimes the stitches can loosen on their own and fall out ahead of schedule. Typically if they’ve been in the mouth for at least a few days it should be okay to leave them alone. However if they fall out after the first day, you should definitely contact your dentist. You may need them to be replaced.
Reasons for sutures to fall out early:
- You accidentally pulled them out. It could be your fault because you were playing with them even though you weren’t supposed to. Please keep your fingers and your tongue away from them as much as possible.
- They unraveled while eating. It can happen where you’re unlucky and they just loosen up all on their own during your meal.
- The ends of the surgical knot wasn’t long enough. This one would be your dentist’s fault such as if they didn’t leave the ends of it long enough. The ends typically do get trimmed because if they’re too long it can irritate your cheeks. There is a fine balance between being too long (irritating) and too short (can loosen).
Nevertheless, when in doubt you can always give your dentist a call.
On average you can expect your dissolvable stitches to fall out on their own after about 5-14 days. If you have non-dissolving ones you’ll need to return to your dentist after 1-2 weeks to have them physically removed. It all comes down to what type you had put in.
Hopefully we’ve satisfied your curiosity in regards to sutures for your third molars. We simply wish to remind you that taking care of them is only one aspect of the aftercare of having wisdom teeth removed. Don’t forget the other dos and don’ts.