For many dental procedures, dental sutures are unnecessary. For simple extractions, deep cleaning, and other routine visits, dental stitches are generally more trouble than they are worth. However, for some dental surgeries, dental sutures, and dental suture removal, are topics worth knowing more about. Here’s when they’re appropriate and how to care for them.
What dental procedures use dental stitches?
Dental sutures are most commonly used to close wounds that would otherwise perhaps get larger or not close on their own, including:
- Wisdom tooth extraction
- Dental implants
- Surgical extractions
- Bone grafts
Wisdom teeth extraction is one of the most common dental surgeries. When the extraction is simple, stitches are generally not necessary.
However, if the wisdom teeth are impacted, cutting into the bone to remove them will require dental sutures.
Dental implants usually require multiple surgical procedures, from placing the implant and then opening the gum afterwards to complete the procedure.
After this procedure, dental sutures can protect the bone from infection and speed healing.
As with wisdom teeth, not all extractions of teeth in other areas of the mouth are simple. Surgical extraction may require a few dental stitches.
Dental bone grafts help restore bone integrity after extraction. Bone grafts also treat significant bone loss when a patient wants to receive dental implants. Dental sutures protect the graft while it heals.
Alveoloplasty often requires the creation of a gum flap. This gum flap must be repositioned and fastened with dental sutures to ensure proper healing.
What are the different types of dental stitches?
There are two types of dental stitches:
These are also known as dissolvable dental stitches or resorbable dental stitches.
As the name suggests, they will dissolve into the gums over time. These generally dissolve anywhere from three days to two weeks after surgery.
This type of stitch must be removed by your dentist after the wound has mostly healed.
Dental suture materials vary, from mono-filament or multi-filament stitches that are made of materials that are natural (e.g., silk) or synthetic (nylon is most common).
Although dissolvable dental stitches do not require removal, your dentist may want to look for remnants just to be safe.
Benefits of dental sutures
Dental sutures, properly placed and removed on time, can provide the following benefits.
Aids in healing
When bone is exposed and then covered with gum tissue (as in a gum flap procedure), dental sutures hold the tissue close to the bone.
This prevents bacteria or other foreign particles from touching your bone. This prevents infection that could damage the area. Dental sutures also minimize the size of the wound so that the edges have less distance to cover.
Minimizes post-operative bleeding
Dental sutures add mild compression to the wound, which helps to minimize and control post-operative bleeding.
When is dental suture removal necessary?
Dental suture removal is scheduled post-operatively somewhere between a week and ten days after your surgery. If your dental stitches come out before then, your wound may reopen or become infected.
A quick checkup can determine the best course of action. In some cases, this may mean re-sut