How Long Do Dissolvable Stitches Last in Mouth?

Published on: April 28, 2024
Concerned woman after oral surgery wondering how long dissolvable stitches last in mouth

Dissolvable stitches, also known as absorbable sutures, are commonly used in oral surgeries and dental procedures to facilitate wound closure and promote healing. These stitches are designed to break down gradually over time, but how long do dissolvable stitches last in mouth incisions?

Oral dissolvable stitches are convenient, eliminating the need for removal and reducing patient discomfort. However, many individuals undergoing dental procedures may wonder how long dissolvable stitches last in the mouth and what to expect during the healing process.

In this article, we will explore what are dissolvable stitches, what they are used for, the lifespan of dissolvable stitches in the mouth, factors that can affect their dissolution and tips for managing dissolvable stitches hanging in the mouth.

What Are Dissolvable Stitches?

Dissolvable stitches, also known as absorbable sutures, are medical sutures made from materials that naturally break down and are absorbed by the body over time. These stitches are commonly used in surgical procedures, including dental surgeries and oral procedures, to close wounds and promote healing.

Unlike traditional sutures, which require removal by a healthcare professional, dissolvable stitches eliminate the need for a follow-up appointment, reducing patient discomfort and inconvenience.

The materials used in dissolvable stitches vary, with options such as polyglycolic acid (PGA), polylactic acid (PLA), and polydioxanone (PDO), each offering different rates of dissolution and compatibility with the body’s tissues.

Overall, dissolvable stitches provide a convenient and effective method for wound closure, allowing for seamless healing and minimizing the risk of infection.

Understanding the Lifespan of Dissolvable Stitches

Many oral surgery patients want to know how long for stitches to dissolve in mouth. The duration for dissolvable stitches to dissolve in the mouth can vary depending on several factors, including the type of material used, the location of the stitches and the individual’s healing process.

In general, dissolvable stitches in the mouth typically begin to break down within 7 to 10 days after placement. However, complete dissolution may take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks or longer, depending on the specific type of suture material used and the extent of the surgical incision.

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Factors Affecting Dissolution Time

Several factors can influence the rate at which dissolvable stitches dissolve in the mouth. One of the primary factors is the type of suture material used. Dissolvable stitches are commonly made from materials such as polyglycolic acid (PGA), polylactic acid (PLA), or polydioxanone (PDO).

While PGA stitches may dissolve more quickly, PDO stitches tend to have a longer dissolution time. The location of the stitches within the mouth can affect their dissolution rate, with stitches in areas of increased moisture and movement breaking down more slowly than those in drier, more stable regions.

Managing Dissolvable Stitches Hanging in the Mouth

It is not uncommon for patients to experience dissolvable stitches hanging in the mouth during healing. While this can be uncomfortable and may cause irritation, it is important to avoid pulling or cutting the stitches yourself, as this can disrupt the healing process and increase the risk of infection.

Instead, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to help promote the natural dissolution of the stitches. If you experience significant discomfort or notice signs of infection, such as increased swelling, redness, or pus around the stitches, contact your dentist for further evaluation.

Tips for Promoting Healing

To facilitate the timely dissolution of dissolvable stitches in the mouth and promote optimal healing, it’s essential to follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s post-operative care instructions carefully. This may include:

  • Practicing good oral hygiene: Maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing gently around the surgical site with a soft-bristled toothbrush and using a prescribed antimicrobial mouthwash as directed.
  • Avoiding certain foods: Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can irritate the surgical site or dislodge the stitches. Stick to soft, easy-to-chew foods and avoid using straws, which can create suction and disrupt the healing process.
  • Attend follow-up appointments: Schedule and attend any recommended follow-up appointments with your dentist or oral surgeon to monitor the healing progress and ensure proper wound care.
  • Managing pain and discomfort: Take any prescribed pain medications as directed and use over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to manage pain and discomfort as needed.

Dissolvable stitches play a crucial role in promoting wound healing and tissue repair following oral surgeries and dental procedures. How long dissolvable stitches last in the mouth varies, with most stitches begin to break down within 7 to 10 days and fully dissolve within 1 to 3 weeks or longer.

A satisfied woman in a dental chair discussing her treatment with a dentist.

By following your dentist or oral surgeon’s post-operative care instructions and taking steps to promote healing, you can help ensure a smooth recovery and optimal outcomes following oral surgery. If you have any concerns about your dissolvable stitches, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.

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