Wisdom tooth extraction is a common dental procedure undergone by many individuals. This procedure often involves the use of stitches to aid in the healing process and promote proper recovery.
But have you ever dealt with wisdom tooth stitches, either personally or through someone you know? Understanding dental stitches and adopting appropriate aftercare measures can have a significant effect on the recuperative journey. In this blog post, we’ll explore all about wisdom tooth stitches to ensure a smooth recovery. Continue reading to learn more on this particular topic.
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, often emerge during late adolescence or early adulthood. Due to their late arrival and location at the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth can pose various oral health challenges, including the potential need for extraction. If you are facing the prospect of wisdom tooth extraction, it is essential to understand the procedure and the role of stitches in the healing process.
The wisdom teeth extraction procedure typically involves simple steps.
Your dentist will assess your wisdom teeth through physical examination and dental imaging, such as X-rays, to determine their condition and position.
Before the wisdom tooth surgery, you will be given anaesthesia/sedation to numb the area around the tooth, ensuring you won’t feel any pain during the procedure.
Your dentist will then carefully remove the wisdom tooth. In some cases, the tooth might be impacted or partially erupted, necessitating a surgery wisdom tooth extraction.
After the tooth is removed, stitches may be used to close the wound and promote proper healing.
Stitches, also known as sutures, play a crucial role in the post-extraction healing process and are employed to secure the incisions made during the extraction procedure.
Dental stitches/sutures are used to:
Stitches help control bleeding by securing the wound and preventing excessive blood loss.
By bringing the edges of the wound together, stitches facilitate faster healing of the tissue.
Stitches close the wound, reducing the risk of infection by preventing bacteria from entering the extraction site.
Stitches help stabilise the wound, reducing the likelihood of complications and ensuring proper healing.
To know more about these stitches, let’s delve deeper into the types used in wisdom tooth removal, specifically focusing on the extraction hole.
Dentists generally use two types of stitches; both serve the same purpose: absorbable and non-absorbable. Absorbable stitches, also known as “dissolvable” stitches, are composed of materials that break down naturally over time. The amount of time it takes for disintegration is 5 to 7 days. Absorbable stitches provide the advantage that they don’t require removal.
On the other hand, non-absorbable stitches are the opposite and need to be removed by a dentist. They are sometimes called standard stitches. Non-absorbable sutures should be taken out between 7 to 10 days after they were originally placed. Some dentists might recommend that your stitches stay in place for 10 to 14 days for proper healing.
Now, let’s examine the aftercare practices. It is essential to follow these guidelines as part of your treatment plan.
Proper aftercare is essential for ensuring the success of the wisdom tooth extraction procedure and minimising discomfort during the recovery period. Here are some crucial aftercare tips to follow:
Follow Post-Operative Instructions
Your dentist will provide you with some important instructions to follow after the procedure. These instructions may include guidelines for diet, pain management, oral hygiene, and activities to avoid.
Bite Down on Gauze
It is normal to experience some bleeding immediately after the extraction. Bite down on a gauze pad placed over the surgical area or tooth socket to control/stop bleeding. Replace the gauze as directed and avoid excessive spitting to prevent blood clot dislodging.
Stick to a soft diet for the first few weeks to avoid putting excessive pressure on the surgical site. Eat soft foods like yoghurt, soup, mashed potatoes, and smoothies.
Avoid Certain Activities
Refrain from smoking, drinking through a straw, and engaging in strenuous physical activities for a few days or weeks, as these activities can disrupt the healing process.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and support the healing process.
Attend your scheduled follow-up appointments with your dentist to ensure your healing is progressing as expected.
Taking proper care of your wisdom teeth stitches is key to a successful recovery.
If a stitch comes loose, it may cause irritation to the gums or cheeks. Consult your dentist in such a situation. However, do not attempt to cut, pull, or remove a loose stitch without consulting your dentist first. Also, check that your wound is not bleeding or opened.
Keep your surgical area and stitches clean. Use antibacterial mouthwash to keep the extraction part clean and free from debris. For brushing and flossing, be gentle around the surgical area to avoid disturbing the stitches.
Additionally, avoid irritating foods, including spicy, acidic, and crunchy, chewy foods that could irritate the surgical site.
The healing time after wisdom tooth extraction can vary from person to person, depending on the extraction’s complexity, the surgery’s extent, the patient’s healing process, the type of stitches used, and adherence to typical aftercare instructions. The initial healing process generally takes about one to two weeks. During this time:
🡆 First 24 to 48 hours – The initial discomfort, bleeding, and swelling should start to subside.
🡆 3 to 4 days – You may experience a reduction in swelling, and any stitches used may begin to dissolve or might be removed by your dentist if they are non-dissolving stitches.
🡆 1 to 2 weeks – Most patients are able to resume their normal activities, although complete healing may take several weeks. The gum tissue should gradually close over the extraction site.
It is important to note that while the initial healing may occur relatively quickly, complete bone healing at the surgery site can take several months. Your dentist will provide you with a better estimate of healing time based on your specific case.
Stitches are usually removed several weeks after the procedure, depending on the type used and your healing progress. The removal process is generally painless and quick with the help of sedation.
While complications are rare, being aware of potential issues is important. Contact your dentist promptly if you notice signs of infection (redness, pus, or fever), worsening swelling, persistent bleeding, or if stitches become dislodged or broken.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial to ensure the cleanliness of the removal site and prevent infection and complications after wisdom teeth removal. It is preferable to refrain from flossing or brushing on the extraction area for a certain period of time. Generally, this can range between 3 to 7 days, depending on the advice given by your dentist.
After the first 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth with salt water, taking care not to spit, as this may dislodge the blood clot. Medicated mouthwash or antibacterial rinse prescribed by your dentist is another option for post-operative care after extraction.
Effective pain management is vital for a comfortable recovery after wisdom tooth extraction, particularly when dealing with stitches. The discomfort experienced post-surgery is a normal part of the healing process, and various techniques can be employed to alleviate pain and promote the healing journey. One of the primary approaches to pain management is the application of ice packs. Placing ice packs gently on the external area of the surgical site can help reduce swelling and numb the area, thereby providing relief from pain and discomfort. These packs can be used for short periods, usually about 15 to 20 minutes, to avoid potential skin damage from prolonged exposure.
Over-the-counter pain medications also play a crucial role in pain management. Common medications like ibuprofen and prescribed antibiotics can be used as your dentist recommends to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. However, it’s essential to adhere to your dentist’s recommended dosage and guidelines to avoid potential side effects.
Saltwater rinses are another valuable technique for managing pain and promoting healing after wisdom tooth extraction with stitches. This solution helps cleanse the surgical area, reduce the risk of infection, and soothe discomfort. Be sure to follow all your dentist’s instructions regarding the timing and frequency of these rinses to ensure effectiveness without disrupting the healing process.
Always consult your dentist before starting any pain management regimen to ensure it suits your health needs.
Understanding wisdom teeth stitches, aftercare tips, and the healing process is crucial for a successful recovery. Following all aftercare instructions can minimise pain and discomfort, prevent complications, and ensure a smooth healing journey. Remember to stay vigilant and always consult your dentist if you have any concerns.
The healing time of stitches after wisdom tooth extraction can vary; the sutures usually take several weeks to dissolve.
Wisdom teeth stitches dissolve naturally if your dentist uses absorbable sutures. However, you may notice the stitches becoming loose before they completely dissolve, which usually takes one to two weeks.
Dental stitches are needed after the wisdom tooth has been extracted – an incision is made, and stitches are used to close the cut gum tissue and stabilise it.
While it is normal when it comes to stitches, if it comes loose or your wisdom teeth stitches “hanging,” consult your dentist immediately for advice. Do not attempt to remove them on your own.
Normally, there are two to three stitches, but it depends on the size of the wound (wisdom tooth hole) and your dentist’s preference.
The removal of wisdom teeth stitches typically causes minimal pain. Any pain experienced is usually mild and can be managed with sedatives to ease discomfort.
It is important to note that removing stitches only applies to non-absorbable types.