What are dissolvable stitches?
Dissolvable stitches are made of sterile, absorbable compounds and materials that eventually disintegrate over a period of time inside the body, helped by the body’s normal immune system response to foreign materials. They are used to close internal, surgical openings and incisions, such as in wisdom teeth removal. Dissolvable stitches are helpful when getting your wisdom teeth out because the level of care after such a procedure is usually minimal; in other words, you don’t need to see your doctor afterward except for a quick checkup – unless complications arise with the healing process.
When can you expect your stitches to dissolve?
Dissolvable stitches, as in the name, are designed to dissolve on their own without any intervention from oral surgeons. Though the stitches dissolve, it takes time for this process to occur. There are a few things that affect how long the stitches will take to dissolve, including:
- The size of the stitches – larger stitches may take a longer time to dissolve than smaller stitches.
- The ingredients the stitches are made of – some stitches are designed to last a longer period of time for wounds that may take longer to heal.
- Type and size of incision – larger incisions may require more stitches or larger stitches, which will likely take longer to disintegrate.
- The location of the stitches – certain locations produce different conditions for stitches to dissolve within, such as in the mouth where wisdom teeth were extracted – the stitches will likely affected by the moisture surrounding the area.
All of these factors are important to consider when it comes to understanding how long it will take for your own wisdom teeth stitches to dissolve. In some cases stitches take only several days to dissolve, whereas in other cases it may take up to a few months. Usually stitches that are used after wisdom teeth extraction will take a couple weeks to disintegrate.
How to care for your stitches after wisdom teeth removal
Properly caring for the incision site after wisdom teeth removal is essential to your recovery and proper healing. Though complications are rare, wisdom teeth removal can pose challenges for some individuals. When it comes to your stitches specifically, it’s not uncommon for them to bother some people – especially if a stitch becomes loose or pokes out inside your mouth. No matter what, it’s important that you follow these specific guidelines:
- Don’t try to pull out your stiches
- Let your oral surgeon be aware of your concerns or any changes in your healing
- Inform yourself of what you can expect with your own healing process
- Don’t use straws, chew gum, or other especially chewy or hard foods
- Keep your mouth clean, and try not to disturb the incision area
Signs of complications to be aware of
The good news is that dissolvable stitches are not likely to cause many complications, including infection. However, as with any surgical procedure, no matter how simple, there are always complications you can run into that pose a threat to your recovery. Besides following the above guidelines to help prevent complications, you should also be aware of the potential signs of complications in case you experience them yourself. Here are a few signs to look out for which indicate you need to contact your oral surgeon right away:
- Excessive pain that does not subside with mild painkillers
- A raised body temperature or fever
- Irritation or redness around the incision area
- A swollen incision area
- Any fluid excretion from the incision area
These symptoms indicate that your wisdom teeth incision area is not healing properly, and you may be dealing with an infection. Don’t panic, this situation is highly treatable; however, the longer you wait to have the problem addressed the more serious it can become and the more strenuous the interventions will be.
How we can help you
Having your wisdom teeth removed can be a little daunting, and it’s understandable that you probably have plenty of questions and concerns about the procedure. Here at the Dental Group of Simi Valley in California, we have helped countless individuals successfully get through the process of wisdom teeth removal. If you’d like to learn more about the process or how we can help you, please call our office directly.