A suture is any strand of material used to ligate blood vessels or approximate tissues. It consists of a thread material which is attached to a needle. The use of suturing has been documented as far back as 2000 B.C. by Egyptians. Today many see suturing as an art form in surgery. Dentists and surgeons alike should have a thorough understanding of the design of the equipment and materials they are using.

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In dentistry, sutures are routinely used to achieve haemostasis, approximate tissues after extraction, implant surgeries, periodontal surgeries and biopsy procedures. Intra-orally most wounds heal by secondary intention which can delay the healing process and this can manifest clinically as symptomatic issues for patients. Suturing makes it possible to strive towards healing by primary intention. Suturing can also act as an adjunct to treatment, for example in periodontal crown lengthening surgery the primary aim is to remove excess tissue via incisions but the type of suturing can help reposition the tissues more apically.

This article aims to inform the reader of types of suture needles, suture materials and techniques which will provide an insight into material selection and overall better treatment outcomes based on a more educated approach.

Primary aims of suturing
Approximate wound edges to maximize healing by primary intention
To cover bone as much as possible to prevent bone necrosis
Hold the flap in the desired position
To aid in soft tissue homeostasis

Table 1, Aims of suturing

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