Dissolvable stitches should last about 10-14 days in the mouth before they dissolve enough to fall out all on their own. Although they can fall out sooner if your dentist used the faster resorbing sutures.
Therefore how long they last will ultimately depend on the type of stitches material that your dentist used. Some of them take longer to fall out while some fall out quicker.
As a point of reference, the most commonly used dissolvable suture for wisdom teeth extractions is the chromic gut and that one lasts about 10-14 days in the mouth.
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Types of dissolvable stitches
The most commonly used dissolvable stitches in the mouth by dentists are mainly variations of catgut sutures with the exception being vicryl. Although in the dental community, we simply refer to the catgut as "gut sutures" for short.
Before you go thinking if these stitches are made of the guts of cats, the answer is no. The catgut sutures are mainly composed of collagen but they're made from the guts of ruminant animals (cows, sheeps, goats).
Fast absorbing gut
The fast absorbing gut sutures are typically not used in the mouth since they fall out too quickly at 5-7 days. It isn't strong enough for the muscular soft tissues in the oral cavity.
Where dentists use the fast gut is for pediatric facial lacerations. That is if an infant or child gets a cut on their face or lip. This is the ideal one to use for kids.
The plain gut sutures are an option to be used in the mouth and while some dentists carry it in their office, most prefer their stronger counterpart, chromic gut. They are somewhat in between the fast gut and the chromic gut in terms of strength. They will last about 7-10 days before falling out.
The workhorse for dissolvable sutures after dental surgeries is the chromic gut suture. It lasts for about 10-14 days so it is more than sufficient strength wise to handle all of your intraoral needs.
This is the most commonly used sutures for the vast majority of extractions. In fact, it may be the only one that dentists stock in their office. That is how common and favored it is among the dental community.
The chromic gut lasts longer in the mouth because it is coated in chromic salts. This coating with salts help it resist enzymatic degradation from the boyd.
The vicryl sutures are sometimes used by oral surgeons. They can be used in the mouth since they're practically interchangeable with the chromic gut. They last about the same time, 10-14 days.
Although in our experience, we often used the vicryl for laceration repairs such as for deep intraoral soft tissues or even the tongue.
Vicryl vs Catgut
The main difference between the two is that catgut is all natural while vicryl is synthetic.
The gut sutures are literally made out of the gut of ruminant animals.
The vicryl rapide is lab made so it is synthetic.
Caveat to how long dissolvable stitches last
Although we stated in the chart above about the dissolving time for various stitches in the mouth, that is the effective time that it lasts.
What we mean by that is those are the times when you can expect the stitches to "fall out of your mouth."According to the chart, most of them should've fallen out by the end of the second week.
However the sutures technically do not become fully resorbed by the body until about 3 months later. That is the time it takes for your body to completely break it down.
For further clarification, what we mean by this is that usually by the end of the second week, most of it would've fallen out on its own. Although there may be pieces that are still left which are embedded in your gums. These residual pieces of stitches may not be noticeable to you but they are there and they won't completely get resorbed until about 90 days later.
Wisdom teeth stitches vs non-wisdom teeth
When wisdom teeth stitches dissolve is the same as non-wisdom teeth ones. That means all sutures that are used in the mouth are not affected by which tooth socket they are placed in. The reason is because the material dictates when they get degraded. Therefore, everything that we've spoke about here will apply to the entire mouth.
How sutures dissolve
The stitches that are made of catgut are literally made of the intestinal linings from ruminant animals and it consists of mostly collagen. As you can imagine, your body breaks it down with proteolytic enzymes just like how it does so with food.
You can almost think of it as if it was "food" in a sense.
The vicryl on the other hand is made of a resorbable copolymer of glycolic acid and lactic acid called Polyglactin 910 and they dissolve via hydrolysis. Both of these materials are commonly found substances and byproducts of the human body.
What to expect with self dissolving stitches
If you had a wisdom tooth extraction or any extraction for that matter and you were given dissolvable stitches, you can expect it to last up to 2 weeks at most. By the end of 14 days, most of it should've fallen out on it's own.
However in our experience, most people tend to heal fairly quickly and the sutures may come out a little sooner than that. If yours happen to fall out after a week, don't be surprised.