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Why Do The Stitches In My Gums Hurt?

Under normal circumstances, the stitches in your gums should not hurt because they're a treatment that is used to accelerate healing. They're not meant to cause discomfort nor disrupt the recovery process, meaning their presence will only help and not hinder.


stitches in gums over extraction socket

Although there is the possibility for abnormal conditions which may result in pain from your stitches. If that is your situation, you may need to have it treated.


Can stitches in gums hurt?

If there are no complications, the sutures in your gums should not cause you any pain. Their presence is meant to expedite the healing process in a more favorable manner. In fact, if you didn't get any stitches, you would've probably had more discomfort than if you had it.


Healing with primary intention

When you get stitches put in, they pull the edges of the wound closer together. This allows your body to heal via primary intention and not secondary intention. The latter is when the wounds are not in close proximity and thus your body is forced to fill in the gap with scar tissue.


Primary Vs Secondary intention healing
Credit: teachmesurgery

Therefore, the presence of sutures is more effective and efficient for the healing of your wound. Basically your gums will heal faster with them than without them.


We would even go as far as to say that you'd experience more discomfort without them than with them. Clearly if you leave a wound wide open instead of having them sewed together, would seem more painful wouldn't it? Hope that makes as much sense to you as it does for us.


Having stitches in doesn't cause discomfort

The act of having the stitches in the gums shouldn't cause any discomfort. The threads aren't sharp so they do not have the potential to inflict any pain upon you.



The entire situation is similar to getting a piercing done such as having your ear pierced. It's similar because you have a foreign object that is lodged through your body. Do the earrings cause you permanent discomfort? It doesn't right and neither should the sutures in your gums.


pearl earring
pearl earring

Both merely reside within your body but does not cause any irritation.


Potential causes of stitches pain

Feeling pain around the stitches in your gums is an indication of a complication.


Causes of painful stitches:

  • Infection. One of the most common reasons to get stitches is after your wisdom teeth removal. There is a possibility that your wisdom teeth stitches can get infected. That may happen if you don't take care of them properly while you're healing. The presence of pain, bleeding, swelling, or pus are signs of them being infected.

  • Dry socket. Severe pain around your tooth socket with stitches can be due to a dry socket. If you're having pain that is more severe than before you had your tooth removed, it may be this condition. Yes, you can still get a dry socket with stitches.


Signs to look out for

Here are some signs and symptoms which may indicate that your discomfort needs treatment.

  • Bleeding. Specks of blood a few days after your procedure is still considered normal. However if you're oozing out blood even on the second or third day, something is definitely wrong.

  • Swelling. Your face, mouth, and gums may be swollen from your procedure but it should subside over the next few days. If your swelling is not improvement, that is a sign of a complication.

  • Malodor. Are you having a bad taste, smell, or breath?

  • Pus. If you see white fluids ooze out of the gums with stitches, that is a tell-tale sign of an infection. Purulence is basically a mixture of dead white blood cells and bacteria.


Treatment for painful stitches

For infected stitches you will need to return to your dentist to have it treated.

  • Removed infected sutures. The problematic sutures will need to be removed if they are the source of the problem. Afterwards you may need new ones put in.

  • Debride surgical site. If the source of the pain is not from the sutures itself, the surgical site will need to be completely debrided. Your dentist will clean out the entire area by curettage and removing all of the inflamed and granulated tissue. Afterwards it will be flushed out with saline or an antibiotic solution.

  • Take antibiotics. Your dentist will prescribe you antibiotics to ensure that the infection does not return.

  • Pain medication. Pain relievers will help minimize the discomfort.

Home remedies will not help you in anyway.


Home care

Even after the treatment is completed, you still need to do certain things to take care of the area while it heals.

  • Rinse with salt water. Frequently rinsing with salt water can help to keep your mouth clean and free of debris. That usually helps to prevent it from getting infected again.

  • Brush and floss regularly. Yes you still need to brush and floss your teeth even though you have stitches. It's not as if the material is immune to plaque and bacteria.

  • Do not play with surgical site. If you're touching the sutures or surgical site with your fingers, that is surefire way to get it infected again. Leave the area alone as much as possible so that it can heal undisturbed.


Do they really not hurt?

The stitches in your gums really shouldn't hurt. If you're feeling residual discomfort it is probably from the surgical procedure which you had done that required the sutures in the first place. Most commonly it is from a tooth extraction or wisdom tooth removal. That is where the pain is coming from and not so much from the threads in your gum.


How long do stitches hurt?

If the discomfort is from an extraction, you can expect the pain to last about 7 days. It typically peaks around the second-third day but declines sharply after that. Therefore you could say that your stitches hurt for as long as the extraction pain which is roughly 7 days.


When will it fully heal?

Most stitches will stay in the mouth for about 1-2 weeks. That is about how long it takes for the gums to heal. After those two weeks, the sutures aren't really contributing to the healing process anymore. At that time you can have your dentist removed them if they're non-dissolvable. If they're dissolvable, they'll simply fall out all on their own.


Takeaway

Having stitches typically do not hurt whether it is for your gums or anywhere else for that matter. If you are feeling discomfort it may very well be from the surgical procedure which you had done that required the sutures in the first place.


With that being said, non-resolving pain from the sutures would be an indication of a complication. If that is your situation you will need to return to your dentist for a consultation and have it treated.

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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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