In 2020 and 2021, over 10,000 student athletes will play high school sports in Raleigh, North Carolina. Even more adults will participate in recreational activities. With thousands of our patients going through the tooth extraction procedure, we thought it would be a good idea to outline to return to sports or lifting weights.
A tooth extraction is one of the most common surgical procedures in our office. Many of our patients who undergo a tooth extraction lead active lives and ask us whether they can play sports or lift weights the day after the procedure.
We encourage patients to slowly resume regular cardio exercise 3 to 5 days after the surgery. However, patients should not go overboard and push themselves beyond their comfort level. If they notice any throbbing or increased pain, they should tone it down or stop exercising for the day.
If patients play a contact sport where they may get hit in the face, they should avoid playing it for the first week after their surgery. Some examples of the most common contact sports include football, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse.
Weight lifting can be resumed 5 days after surgery. Patients who do choose to weight lift at this time should be aware that they may experience clenching and grinding with heavy exertion during lifting. This is because their face and mouth muscles will still be sore. If patients experience any pain while weightlifting, they should stop and rest for a few more days.
We get many high school football players from schools such as Wake Forest, Heritage, Leesville Road, Sanderson, Cardinal Gibbons and Broughton. These players do not want to miss a single snap of action as they want to be on the field as quickly as possible. Rather than risking further injuring your teeth, it is wise to take a day or two off. Remember, if you get hit and it rattles your helmet, it is going to cause severe pain in your mouth.
In most instances, patients are able to return to full physical activity one week after surgery. If you undergo a tooth extraction at our office, we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to recover safely and efficiently. While it may be tempting to get back to sports or lift weights sooner than we recommend, doing so can lead to serious complications.
What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction
After a tooth extraction, one of our dentists will ask you to bite down on some gauze for about a half hour. Doing so will create pressure that will help form a blood clot at the site of extraction and expedite the healing process. Our Richmond, VA dental friends at River Run Dental have mentioned that pressure is the key to the healing process.
If you bleed a bit for 24 hours after the surgery rest assured that this is perfectly normal. While we’ll provide you with a customized post extraction treatment plan, you’ll likely have to adhere to these instructions:
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers like Advil and Motrin to gently reduce any pain you may be experiencing.
- Place an ice pack on your jaw to minimize swelling. If your jaw becomes sore after the swelling has subsided, you can use a warm compress to find relief.
- Stick to soft and cool foods for a few days such as smoothies, bananas, salmon, cottage cheese, and hummus.
- Avoid using a straw or spitting as this can dislodge your blood clot and delay the healing process.
- Do not brush the extraction site area for the first 24 hours after the procedure. Also, don’t use antiseptic mouth rinses that can irritate the extraction site.
- After the 24 hour mark, return to your normal dental routine. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once daily to expedite the healing process and keep your mouth clean and fresh.
- Refrain from smoking for at least 72 hours to prevent bacteria or toxins from infecting your mouth.
By following these tips after a tooth extraction, you can increase your chances of recovering safely and quickly. You can also avoid complications such as dry socket, bone damage, infection, and nerve damage. If you face excessive pain, bleeding, or swelling after the procedure, it’s important to consult a dentist right away.