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What To Do For Dental Implant Stitches Coming Out

Updated: Jan 12

Dental implant stitches coming out could be a complication or it could also be a normal part of the healing process. If it is the former, you will need to return to your dentist to have it treated. If it is the latter, you may be able to just leave the falling out sutures as is.


Stitches in gums on implant model

Factors which determine if it is a complication:

  • Are the stitches dissolvable or non-dissolvable?

  • How long have the implant sutures been in your mouth?

  • Was a bone graft done in conjunction with implant placement?


The combination of all three of these factors will determine what course of action you need to take for these stitches that are about to come out.


Stitches dissolvability

Dissolvable stitches are supposed to come out on their own while non-dissolvable stitches remain until they're removed. So, are the dental implant stitches in your mouth that are coming out absorbable or non-absorbable?


What to do:

  • If they can dissolve then they're following their normal course of healing and no action is required on your end.

  • If they don't dissolve then you may have a complication which you will need to see your dentist for a follow up.


Causes for non-absorbable sutures to come out:

  • Suture rejection. Your body can sometimes reject stitches by pushing them out of your body while it's healing. This condition is often referred to as a spitting suture.

  • Knot loosened. If the surgical knot wasn't tied securely enough, it can loosen over time and begin to unravel while you're eating. That may eventually cause them to come out.


How to tell if they can dissolve

Your dentist should've told you if your dental implant sutures can dissolve or not but if you forgot, you can always give them a call. Alternatively, you can try to figure out their dissolvability by seeing what color they are.


Different colored stitches dissolvable vs non-dissolvable

Identifying them by color could be used as a rough approximation for what they could be. Although you do need to be careful because white and green stitches can be both absorbable and non-absorbable.


How long sutures stayed in

The non-dissolvable sutures should stay in the mouth indefinitely until your doctor removes them. The dissolvable ones will often last about 10-14 days before they fall out on their own.


When it's a complication:

  • If a non-absorbable stitch falls out or gets rejected.

  • If your self-dissolving suture comes out in less than a week.


Essentially, if they're coming out sooner than intended, you may need to have your dentist put them back in. Your dentist needs them to stay in your mouth for a certain period of time so that the dental implant can heal properly.


What they look like when they're coming out

Here are some demonstrative images of stitches and how they look when they're coming loose.

loose stitch
loose


hanging dissolvable stitch
hanging

You can compare those photos to a securely tied stitch below.


secure dissolvable stitch
secure dissolvable stitch

Presence of bone graft

If you had a bone graft when you had your dental implant placed, your stitches should've been non-dissolvable which means it shouldn't be coming out. Therefore, if this is your situation you've a complication and you'll need to see your dentist to have the suture replaced.


Reasons stitches for implants with bone grafts shouldn't come out:

  • Bone grafts take weeks for it to heal so a dissolvable suture would be inappropriate.

  • Most dentists will place a membrane in addition to non-absorbable stitches.


In summary, the healing time that is required for an implant with a bone graft necessitates the use of a non-dissolving suture. If a dissolving one was used, it may get absorbed by the body before the graft is finished healing. That would jeopardize the bone graft.


The Verdict

Dental implant stitches that are coming out could be a normal part of the process if the stitches are dissolvable. Those are meant to stay in the mouth for 10-14 days before they fall out on their own. Although if they come out well before then, it may not be normal.


On the other hand, if the implant sutures are non-absorbable, there is a good chance you've a complication. These aren't meant to come out because they're supposed to be removed by your dentist.


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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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