How Long to Wait Before Exercising After a Tooth Extraction

If you lead an active lifestyle, you may be wondering how long to wait before exercising after a tooth extraction. While it’s understandable to want to get back into your routine as soon as possible, it’s important to give your body adequate healing time to prevent complications. In this post, we’ll discuss recommended guidelines for resuming exercise after dental surgery.

Types of Tooth Extractions

a kid getting her tooth extracted

There are two main types of extractions on which the answer of how long to wait before exercising after a tooth extraction depends:

Simple extractions – They involve removing teeth that are visible in the mouth and generally don’t require much manipulation. There is little damage done to the surrounding gum and bone tissues. Simple extractions usually heal faster, with recovery ranging from a few days to a week.

Surgical extractions – They are more complex and performed when teeth are broken off at the gum line or impacted under the gums. Surgical extractions require incisions into the gums, removal of bone tissue, and sometimes sectioning of the tooth to take out pieces. Healing takes several weeks to months due to the extensive surgical trauma to the bone and soft tissues.

The more complex the extraction type, the longer the recommended recovery period before considering any strenuous physical activities.

Impact Level of Planned Physical Activities

a woman talking to a dentist

After tooth extraction, recovery times will also depend significantly on whether you engage in low or high-impact exercise.

Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or cycling put minimal stress on healing wounds. These can typically be resumed sooner based on your comfort level – usually within 2-3 days for simple and 7-10 days for surgical extractions.

High-impact workouts like running, aerobics, or weight training jar injuries repeatedly. It’s best to avoid these vigorous activities for at least 2 weeks after a simple extraction and 4-6 weeks following surgical extractions to prevent wound disruption. Activities with any facial contact should also be prevented during these periods.

Individual Healing Ability

close-up of a patient having her teeth inspected by dentist

Our personal healing capability plays a major role in appropriate recovery periods too. Depending on factors like age, genetics, nutritional status, and hydration levels, wound repair may happen quicker in some people while it takes longer in others. Heavy smokers usually face delayed healing.

Underlying health conditions like diabetes or autoimmune disorders can also impact how efficiently your body recovers after an extraction. The medications you take matter as well. For instance, drugs like steroids tend to slow down healing.

Consider all these factors for a realistic idea of your body’s injury repair pace. Seniors over 70 years or persons with compromised immunity may need the longest exercise restriction while younger healthy adults could recover quicker. Either way, follow your dentist’s advice diligently during recovery.

Risks of Premature Return to Exercise

dentist looking at a monitor showing x-ray scans of teeth

Resuming intense training too soon after a tooth extraction risks serious healing complications including:

1. Dislodged Blood Clots

Tooth extractions leave behind holes in the bone which fill up with blood clots. These clots function as the foundation for repairing cells that heal injuries. Vigorous exercise within 24-48 hours post-extraction can dislodge these precarious clots before they fully stabilize.

This exposes the bone and nerves, causing severe pain along with infection. Smoking or sucking actions with straws also loosen such blood clots, massively setting back recovery.

2. Painful Dry Socket

It’s bad news once the blood clot fails to form or gets dislodged prematurely from an extraction site before healing finishes. This leaves the wound open to irritants which creates a painful condition called dry socket or alveolar osteitis. Exposed nerve endings lie unprotected inside the empty tooth socket which feels intensely painful at the slightest provocation.

Besides throbbing pain, swelling, and foul odor often accompany dry sockets, potentially worsening with eating or drinking. Bits of food also frequently get trapped in these bare tooth holes which then decay rapidly.

Preventing a dry socket means avoiding any activity stirring up bleeding for at least 24 hours post-extraction. Blood clots get about two days for hardening securely inside the socket so efforts must be made not to dislodge clots before that.

3. Increased Infection Risk

Skipping post-extraction rest also heightens the likelihood of bacterial infection. Incisions into the gums create entry points for bacteria to penetrate into healing sites. Workouts too soon don’t allow oral wounds enough closing time before reopening.

Additionally, heavy breathing and sweating during rigorous training expose delicate healing tissues to airborne germs which could trigger infection. Ensuring proper oral hygiene lowers this infection risk while exercising prematurely seriously aggravates it.

4. Delayed Bone and Soft Tissue Healing

Tooth extraction wounds heal slower when the after-surgery resting phase gets cut short. Jarring movements reopen forming blood clots, meaning the body needs to lay down replacement clots continually. This delays oral tissue repair and complete wound closure which can keep socket holes open for weeks instead of days.

The Importance of Recovery Rest

dentist showing patient x-ray scans of teeth on a tablet screen

After surgery, rest is extremely vital allowing the body’s natural repair processes to activate enhanced healing. Avoiding physical, mental, and social stress enables focused wound recovery. Blood circulation concentrating around oral injury sites during rest delivers essential nutrients and oxygen critical for repair mechanisms.

Conversely, intense exercise redirects much-needed blood flow and nutrients away from busy healing zones. Vigorous training also produces biochemical byproducts like cortisol which constrain repair processes. By letting wounds rest adequately early on, full – not prolonged – healing happens faster.

Recommended Recovery Periods Before Resuming Exercise

backview of person sitting on skateboard

With tooth extractions, sufficient healing must occur before taxing the injury sites with physically challenging workouts. Recommended recovery periods before starting mild activity include:

1. First 24-48 Hours

Strict rest without any activity is advised immediately after extraction surgery to allow clot formation. Remaining inactive helps stabilize those initial clots securing the wounds. Dentists often recommend patients return home to sleep after procedures so the body can dedicate all resources toward recovery.

Keep activity restricted for at least 1- 2 days with minimum talking and jaw movements. Follow instructions like applying gauze pads to control bleeding. Rest, ice packs, and medications will tackle the swelling, pain, and surgical trauma best initially.

2. Early Healing Phase – Upto One Week

If no bleeding or complications, light walking may be attempted after 48 hours for healthy young adults. However, sustained demands like resistance training or cardiovascular exercise can still displace unstable blood clots inviting problems. Recover for a full week before considering heavier workouts.

3. After One Week – Gradual Return to Normal Routine

If progressing well, light activity may be increased gradually from 1 week onwards provided no pain exists. However, use good judgment when building back up to avoid overexertion injuries. Low-impact training allows testing out healing capability before intensive activity. With greater surgical complexity, recovery periods must be extended accordingly.

Tips to Recover Faster While Staying Safe

two people wearing white t-shirt shaking hands

Certain best practices during recuperation can help you resume exercise after tooth extraction.

1. Stick to the Dentist’s Post-Op Guidelines

Dental surgeon’s instructions detailing post-procedure care should be followed diligently to prevent complications. Guidelines may cover medicine doses, eating restrictions, oral hygiene, and suitable conditions under which to progress activity levels during multi-week recovery periods.

2. Practice Careful Oral Hygiene

Preventing infection is vital so maintain meticulous oral hygiene without disturbing healing sites. Brush extremely softly after eating, floss lightly, and antiseptic medicated rinses prevent germs from entering extraction wounds.

3. Control Swelling and Pain Efficiently 

Swelling and post-surgical pain are inevitable but well-managed recovery lets you return to training sooner. Using ice packs, taking anti-inflammatory medication, and keeping heads elevated alleviate these issues.

4. Eat Soft, Nutritious Foods

Consuming nutritionally balanced soft foods aids faster healing. Include vitamin-rich soups, greens, yogurts, and smoothies that won’t disturb extraction sites. Stay well hydrated too. Avoid alcohol or smoking that deteriorates healing capacity.

5. Progress Activity Levels Very Gradually 

Recover fully before even light exercise then incrementally increase activity. Begin with short walks before progressing in duration or intensity. Don’t escalate levels without the dentist’s approval especially where surgical extractions occurred.

How Long to Wait Before Running or Lifting Weights? 

a man sitting with chin in a palm discussing with a professional

After tooth extraction, high-impact activities like:

  • Running or jogging
  • Contact sports – boxing, basketball, etc
  • Tennis, squash, etc
  • Weight lifting
  • Aerobics classes

Require much longer avoidance periods to prevent dry sockets and other complications. Allow soft tissue healing for at least 2 weeks before considering such stressful workouts after simple extractions. Wait 4-6 weeks when surgical extractions happen to prevent wound tearing or blood clots from getting dislodged quickly.

Can I Exercise Immediately After a Tooth Extraction?

a hand holding a stress ball

It’s extremely risky and inadvisable to exercise immediately after having a tooth extracted or any oral surgery. Getting active too soon can displace blood clot scabs, trigger serious bleeding, or worsen swelling and inflammation. Wait the recommended 1-2 days minimum as clots form so the wounds can seal. Premature activity often prolongs the healing period leading to more missed training days. Stay disciplined to recover first.

Bottom Line

Waiting sufficiently long to exercise after tooth extractions prevents worrying complications that keep you away from working out longer. Follow the prescribed rest intervals as clots securely seal wounds before gradually revving up your routine again. Though staying inactive is challenging initially, slow and steady level building guarantees you properly heal to prevent added recovery time later. Commit to the full restorative phase and oral care so your body can bounce back fitter faster.

After knowing how long to wait before exercising after a tooth extraction. Here’s to smooth healing and staying on top of your game!

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