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Oral Surgery/difficulties after surgical extraction


I had 2 surgical extractions one week ago, my upper right molars. Both were broken at the gumline, and on the one farther back, the gum had grown over it entirely. Each extraction site had one dissolving stitch. (I should note here, I have multiple dental problems, and had an oral infection at the time of extraction)

The one farther back is healing well, and enough of the stitch dissolved I was left with a thread hanging, which I removed very gently. It feels wonderful. But the hasn't dissolved at all and honestly, I think the stitch is too tightly tied. The strand extends out on both sides of the gum, to where it is tied off, the knot in the center of the wound. The loop digs into the flesh, causing a deep, painful ridge. The area is healing well otherwise but any contact with the stitch causes very sharp pain. The area around the stitch is mildly swollen and tender.

Can I cut and remove the stitch? Or at least cut it, to ease the tension of it? Where I live I can't get back to the dentist for at least another week and I'm concerned about infection and/or gum damage. What is your opinion?

Lisa - Do not cut the stitch.  Just because it has not dissolved is not bad and can often insure a better healing of the area.  There might be a little inflammation around the edge of the stitch.  The best thing you should do and something that should have been told to you during the healing phase, is for you to do warm salt water rinses for about 1-2 minutes, 4-5 times a day.  The warm salt water will reduce any localized swelling and reduce tenderness.

So try the rinsing and I you should feel better soon.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon 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 practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at 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 Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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