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Dentistry/Single non-dissolvable suture remaining (missed) after tooth extraction


I had a lower molar extracted several weeks ago and the dentist used non-dissolvable sutures. I had to return a week later to have them removed. The healing has been coming along nicely since then but obviously still has a ways to go. I recently discovered a single suture remaining and which was missed when the dentist removed the others.

It doesn't seem to be causing any problems and the gum is healing around it. Do I need to return and have it removed or can I just leave it in there? My dentist is a long trip so I don't want to have to make a return visit if i can avoid it.

Sam -  I hate to tell you this because of the lomg ride, but non-dissolving sutures if left can be the source of a future infection site.  So do yourself a favor and have it removed.  Sometimes you can encourage that suture to come out on its own by simply rinsing with warm salt water rinses for about 2-3 minutes, 4-5 times a day, in that suture area.

So try the rinsing first and if it does not release, have it removed.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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