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How To Identify Dissolvable Stitches By Color

Updated: Jan 29

Dissolvable stitches come in various colors such as yellow, violet, green, and white but it depends on the type of material the sutures are made of. Manufacturers intentionally made different suture materials to have a different corresponding color so they are more readily identifiable for clinicians.


Yellow-Gold dissolvable stitches in mouth
Yellow-Gold dissolvable stitches in mouth

Table of contents:


Dissolvable stitches color chart


colors of absorbable and non-absorbable sutures
Credit: dolphinsutures

As you can see, each type of suture material has a corresponding color. The diagram even has non-absorbable sutures to give you an idea of the contrast.


Dissolvable Suture Material

Stitches Color

Gut/Catgut/Chromic

Yellow-Gold

Polyglycolic acid (Polysyn)

Violet

Polyglactin 910 (Vicryl)

Violet or White

Polydioxanone (PDS)

Violet

Polytrimethylene carbonate (Maxon)

Green or White

Glycomer 631 (Biosyn)

Violet

Polyglytone 6211 (Caprosyn)

Violet or White

Poliglecaprone (Monocryl)

Violet or White


 

What color are dissolvable stitches?

If the colors are a little hard to differentiate in the schema above, there is an alternative way to identify the color. We're going to provide pictures of each suture type in their box so that you can see what color they come in. It doesn't get any easier than that.


Note: Some of them do come in an undyed variation where they'll look white. Also if they dissolve, they may change to an off-white color during the dissolution process.


Surgical gut or catgut

The color of gut sutures range from a light yellow to a darker gold/bronze color.


Type of Gut Suture

Color

Fast absorbing gut

Light yellow

Plain gut

Yellow

Chromic gut

Gold/Dark yellow



This type of material is all natural because they're made out of the intestinal lining of ruminant animals (cows, goats, sheeps). They also happen to be the most common type to be used for wisdom teeth stitches.


Chromic gut unboxing video



The color of chromic gut sutures looks dark gold or dark yellow. You can even describe it as bronze in color. Nonetheless, the color looks very similar to what the color strip on the box is. These are widely used in dentistry, especially if you're going to have wisdom teeth removed. They are the first choice for dentists especially in the US.


 

Polyglycolic acid (Polysyn)

Polyglycolic acid (PGA) or polysyn stitches have a violet color and they're synthetically made but they're still absorbable. The box labels them as violet braided coated.



PGA unboxing video



 

Polyglactin 910 (Vicryl)

Polyglactin or more commonly known as Vicryl sutures are typically violet in color but you can also call them purple. Although they are also available in an undyed color of white.



 

Polydioxanone (PDS)

Polydioxanone stitches (PDS) come in a deep violet color. For some reason the color on their box is grey but the suture itself is a dark purple. They do list it as a "violet monofilament" on the label to prevent confusion.


PDS - polydioxanone stitches
Polydioxanone (PDS)

 

Polytrimethylene carbonate (Maxon)

Polytrimethylene carbonate sutures or otherwise known as Maxon, is green in color. Yes, the box color does have it has grey but we know for a fact that it is dyed by green DG#6.


maxon-suture-Polytrimethylene carbonate
Maxon stitches

 

Glycomer 631 (Biosyn)

Glycomer 631 or Biosyn sutures are VIOLET in color. The box is red but the actual color is violet according to Covidien.


biosyn-suture
Biosyn stitches

 

Polyglytone 6211 (Caprosyn)

Caprosyn sutures can be either violet or come undyed.


caprosyn-undyed
Caprosyn stitches

Poliglecaprone (Monocryl)

Monocryl stitches typically come in a violet color but they can also be undyed.



 

How to figure out if your stitches are dissolvable

The best way to identify what you have is by comparing the color of your stitches to what we have listed in the previous section. If the color looks the same then that is probably what it is.


How to identify dissolvable stitches:

  1. Go to a well lit room.

  2. Take a picture with flash on with your cell phone or camera.

  3. Compare the taken photo with the listed dissolvable sutures.


Types of suture colors
Credit: medicshelf

Alternatively you can always give your dentist a call and the receptionist can look in your notes to see what they used. If you don't recognize the color of your stitches, you may have a non-dissolvable one.


 

Dissolvable suture colors in the mouth

For the mouth, the most commonly used dissolvable stitches by dentists would be the chromic gut and vicryl. That means if you see a gold (chromic gut) or purple (vicryl) stitch, it most likely means that you have a self-dissolving one.


gold chromic gut sutures
gold chromic gut sutures

If that is the case, you can expect them to last about 1-2 weeks in the mouth before falling out. If you have some other color, it could be a non-dissolving one.


Common wisdom teeth stitches color

The two most common colors for dissolvable wisdom teeth stitches are gold and purple. Although based on our experience, you'll most likely have gold colored sutures rather than purple ones. That's just the preference of the majority of dentists, including us.


Purple and Gold dissolving sutures
Purple and Gold dissolving sutures

 

Takeaway

The color of the dissolvable suture will depend on the material that they're made of. Most of them are violet in color with the exception of gut sutures (yellow/gold) and Maxon (green). Although some of them can come undyed which means they'll look white in color!


If yours are self-dissolving it means that you don't need a suture removal appointment. If you wait long enough, they'll fall out all on their own at least that is what our dentists in Long Island City see.

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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