A common procedure, a tooth extraction is a quick and cost-effective solution when the pain is intense and a proper repair is an unlikely option. If you are fitness minded, your first question is going to be ‘is it okay to exercise after a tooth extraction?’. In this article we will discuss whether or not exercise is a good idea, as well as explore some of the other things which you should or should not do following a tooth extraction. Be sure to pay close attention and you’ll find that the extraction has healed up in next to no time! Now, without further ado, let’s talk about post-extraction best practices!
So, Can you work out after dental surgery?
Can you lift heavy things after a tooth extraction? Is it okay to go to the gym and get in a good one-hour workout? Well, yes and no. For the first 48 hours it is a definite ‘no’ in regards to working out. Your extraction is still fresh and at this time it is forming a clot. You do NOT want to interfere with this and heavy lifting can do exactly that. After the first 48 hours we recommend that you take it easy during your workouts. Try utilizing less weight and more repetitions, spread out with a few more breaks than usual.
Can I walk after a tooth extraction?
Walking should be fine, as long as it’s not a huge distance during the first 48 hours after your extraction. As with the workout, we are trying to minimize strain on your body to minimize your chances of dislodging the blood clot This way you should be able to gauge your current state of healing without worrying about opening up yourself to the risk of dry socket.
What is dry socket?
Dry socket is a condition which can occur following the extraction of an adult tooth. What happens is that the blood clot is not developing properly or develops, but becomes dislodged. The result is much the equivalent of a wound on your arm, for instance, that hasn’t clotted properly. Healing is slowed and the wound is open to infection. Dry socket is quite a bit more painful, unfortunately, and so you will want to avoid it if at all possible. The pain and the healing, barring infection, can last around 7 to 10 days. Exercising after an extraction is not the only reason that you might develop dry socket, however. There are a number of activities that you will want to avoid, as well as some things that you should specifically DO if you wish to minimize your chances of developing dry socket.
What can you NOT do after a tooth extraction?
Healing after a tooth extraction is a slow process and to avoid potential infection and dry socket there are a few activities which you should abstain from. Following a tooth extraction you avoid the following things:
- Avoid solid food – After your appointment you will likely be quite numb for awhile. During this time and preferably, for 48 hours after your procedure, you should stick to soft foods such as soup or yoghurt (but eat it carefully, no sucking it from the spoon!). Solid, especially hard and sharp foods can impact the area of your extraction, dislodging the forming clot or damaging the area further.
“Aspirin is a blood thinner and it can prevent your clot from forming.”
- Avoid taking aspirin – Aspirin is a blood thinner and it can prevent your clot from forming properly at the same time that it increases the bleeding. Check with your dentist, but generally an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen is a better fit for the pain if you do not wish to take the medication which your dentist has provided.
- Avoid straws – Sucking a straw or even soup or yoghurt from a spoon creates pressure in your mouth that can dislodge the clot. Due to this you should give at least 48 hours for the clot to form properly and even then, eat or drink carefully where suction is concerned in order to protect the clot.
- Avoid smoking – For 48 hours you will want to avoid cigarettes, as the chemicals from the smoke can dry out the extraction area and increase your chances of dry socket. A nicotine patch might be a good idea if you do not feel that you can put off smoking for 48 hours.
What SHOULD you do after a tooth extraction?
Following a tooth extraction, there are a few ‘best practices’ that you should follow in order to maximize your healing and to avoid dry socket. Following your procedure, be sure to do the following:
- Saline rinses – A teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water makes a rinse that you should use 2 – 3 times per day. Rather than swishing, after pouring it in your mouth you should tilt your head to the affected side and then back to the other side. Do NOT spit, as this creates suction, rather you should let it pour/dribble out of your mouth and into the sink and then you can wipe your face with a clean towel. Spitting lightly should be okay after the first 48 hours.
- Take any prescribed medication – Be sure to take any medication that your dentist has recommended in order to obtain best results.
- Use an ice pack for pain – If you are averse to medication, an ice pack is an excellent way to deal with the pain for the first few days until you are feeling better.
Today we have discussed exercise and other activities which should be avoided following a tooth extraction, as well as some things which you SHOULD do in order to maximize your healing. Properly taken care of, an extraction should heal quite quickly and you can resume your normal routine with confidence (typically about 1 to 2 weeks). Just follow our tips and we wish you a speedy healing!