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I Accidentally Pulled Out My Wisdom Teeth Stitches

Depending on how long the wisdom teeth stitches have been in place, it may be okay even if you accidentally pulled them out. If they've been in there long enough, it is probably okay to leave it as is and no further action is required. However if they've only been in there for a short period of time, you may need to have them restitched.


stitches in extraction socket
stitches in extraction socket

The main determining factor for what you should do if you accidentally pull out the sutures for your wisdom teeth is the length of time they've been in your mouth. We've earmarked the third day after the surgery to be the decisive cut off point for what to do.


Now let us explain why that is the case. We'll clarify what you should do for this common wisdom tooth extraction complication.


accidentally pulled out wisdom teeth stitches decision tree
Decision tree

Table of Contents:


Within the first three days

If you accidentally pull out the wisdom teeth stitches within the first 3 days, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. There is a good chance that you may need to have the surgical site restitched. In other words, you'll have to return to your dentist for an additional appointment.


wisdom tooth hole
wisdom tooth hole

The primary reason for why it may require restitching is because the sutures have not completed what they were intended to do. The purpose of the stitches is to reapproximate the two edges of a wound. In other words, it pulls the two edges of a wound closer together.

  • The benefit for reapproximating with sutures is enhanced healing via primary intention.

  • Without reapproximating the wound with sutures, your body will be forced to heal via secondary intention.


Primary vs secondary intention wound healing


Primary Vs Secondary intention healing
Credit: teachmesurgery

Primary intention:

  • Faster healing

  • Minimal scarring


Secondary intention:

  • Delayed healing

  • More visible scarring


Essentially if you're able to keep the stitches in, the socket would would heal faster and have less scarring. Although we do want to point out that people generally don't really care about scarring for the gums where the wisdom tooth used to be. It's so far back that no one even notices it.


 

After the third day

If the wisdom teeth sutures were accidentally pulled out after the third day, there is a good chance it may require no action. That means you don't need to do anything and can leave it alone. Although it would still be prudent to contact your dentist and let them know just in case they thought otherwise.


healing wisdom tooth hole after 3 days
healing wisdom tooth hole after 3 days

Reasons it is okay after third day:

  • It has healed enough. For most wisdom teeth extractions, the gums should've completed the bulk of its healing after the third day. If you kept track of its visual progress, you would've seen that the wisdom tooth hole is smaller than the day of surgery. In other words, the socket should've healed enough were the stitches aren't as needed.

  • Stitches lose effectiveness over time. Most wisdom teeth stitches tend to be dissolvable. That means with each passing day, it becomes weaker and contributes less to the healing process. The sutures work the hardest within the first 3 days but their effectiveness starts to taper off after the 3rd day.


Types of wisdom teeth stitches

The stitches can either be dissolvable or non-dissolvable. For the most part, dentists often use the dissolvable chromic gut sutures for the wisdom teeth. Studies have shown that the chromic gut tends to lose a lot of its strength by 10-14 days.


However in our personal experience, the stitches will usually fall out on their own within that time period. In fact, they begin to look "loose" or as if they are hanging towards the end of the first week. That is simply what we've observed in clinical practice.


It is pretty rare for dentists to use the non-dissolving ones. That type is stronger and reserved for bone grafts, gum surgery, and implants. You don't want it to dissolve because you don't want it getting absorbed by the body in the middle of the healing process.


Takeaway

If you accidentally pull out the stitches for your wisdom teeth, what you should do would depend on how long you've had them in. If it has been more than three days, you may be okay to leave them alone. However if its been less than three days, you should contact your dentist.


Hopefully that answers all of your questions. Don't forget to review all of the dos and don'ts for wisdom teeth removal aftercare. There are quite a few things which you shouldn't be doing. You haven't been doing them, right?

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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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