A few days after the extraction, you’ve begun noticing that your wisdom teeth stitches look like they’re hanging. You’re not alone because they do have a tendency to do that once they’re nearing the end of their useful life.
We’ll explain some of the potential causes for why they’re that way and also what you should do about them. You do have options!
Causes for sutures to be hanging
There can be many reasons for the stitches to appear as if they’re hanging. Overall, it typically means they’re about to fall out or they’re just about ready to be removed by your dentist.
Dissolved enough to fall off
If you have dissolvable stitches, they will get resorbed by your body with each passing day. Each time a small piece of it dissolves, the overall structural integrity of it will weaken. There will come a point in time where enough of it has dissolved that they’ll look as if they’re hanging or ready to come out.
How to tell if this is your situation:
- It’s been a few days since you’ve had the stitches.
- Your dentist told you that your wisdom teeth stitches were dissaolvable. If you don’t remember if they dissolve or not, you can try to figure it out by the color of the suture.
They’re being pushed out
During the healing process of when the wisdom tooth hole is closing, the stitches can get “pushed out” by the body. Your gums recognize them as a foreign body and naturally wants to get rid of them.
What happens is as the hole closes, your body slowly moves the sutures further and further out. Eventually it’ll just look as if they are hanging and about to fall out of the gums.
How to tell if this is your situation:
- It’s been many days since your wisdom tooth removal.
- The extraction socket looks like it has closed a lot.
You’re almost healed
Alternatively if the sutures look like they’re hanging, it may just mean that you’re almost finished healing. The purpose of the stitches is to bring the edges of the wound closer together so that they heal faster. As the wound closes, your body relies less and less on it. It eventually reaches a point where they’re just in the gums but not really contributing to the healing process.
What to do about hanging wisdom teeth stitches
Most of the time, when the wisdom teeth stitches are hanging they can bother you such as irritate your cheeks or poke your tongue. It may be bearable to some but for others, they definitely want to do something about it.
- Cut them shorter. Please do not try cutting them yourself. You should return to your dentist and have them do it for you as a follow up appointment.
- Remove them. Ask your dentist if its time for them to just be removed. If you’re healed enough they may just remove the entire suture.
- Let them dissolve. If yours are self-dissolving, you could just do nothing and simply wait for them to fully dissolve. Although they’ll most likely just fall out before that even happens.
If your stitches are non-dissolvable, the only option you would have would be to get them removed by your dentist. They won’t fall out on their own since they do not dissolve.
Could the stitches come out too soon?
Usually if you have wisdom teeth stitches that are hanging, it is an indication that you’re near the end of the healing process. The useful life for them is almost up. That means you probably don’t really need the sutures to be in the gums any longer.
However there is one exception and that is if you find the sutures to be hanging only a day or two after your wisdom teeth removal. That is a little too soon for them to be near the end of its useful life.
If yours look like they’re coming out after only 1-2 days, something may have gone wrong with them. You should definitely contact your dentist. There is a chance you may need to have them redone.
When are they supposed to come out?
As a rule of thumb, we typically expect wisdom teeth stitches to stay in for about a week before they should or need to come out. That is approximately the amount of time they’re effectively useful for the healing process before they stop being useful.
Wisdom teeth stitches aren’t supposed to last forever in your mouth because they do need to come out at some point. If they look like they’re hanging on for their dear life, it may be a sign that they’re ready to go.
Instead of being worried you should rejoice because they’ll most likely fall out on their own real soon. If not, you can always check in with your dentist to have them remove it.