Can I Exercise After Dental Work?

If exercise is a part of your daily life, you may be concerned about missing a few workouts. If you are having a dental procedure done, you will want to know how soon afterward you will be able to exercise and get back into your normal fitness routine.

You might need to delay exercise following a dental procedure. (Image: Cavan Images/Cavan/GettyImages)

There are several things to consider after dental work such as the healing process and how you will feel from the medication or anesthesia from the procedure. Many dental procedures allow exercise within several days after surgery.

Tip

Timing of exercise after dental work depends on the severity of your procedure.

Common Dental Procedures

There's a broad spectrum of procedures you can have done at the dentist's or oral surgeon's office. These range from a mild cleaning to an extraction or root canal. If you have something that does not require a sedative or is noninvasive, such as an oral exam or X-ray, you can exercise immediately afterward.

If you have dental work done that involves removing teeth, gum or bone, you'll want to follow your dentist's instructions carefully. The main thing is to avoid having your sutures or blood clot on the surgical site separate or dislodge — this can lead to further complications, including infection. If you're having a cap or crown placed on a tooth, you may want to hold off on strenuous exercise for three to five days following the procedure.

Consider Your Sedation

Depending on your oral surgeon and the procedure you're having done, you may have to be sedated to reduce anxiety and numb your mouth. One type of sedation is a narcotic analgesic such as codeine or hydrocodone. It works directly inside your central nervous system to relieve pain. You may be given one before or directly after a procedure. Exercise is discouraged until a narcotic analgesic drug completely wears off, which could be up to 12 hours, depending on dosage.

A local anesthetic is a common pain reliever and numbing agent that is injected into the affected area before procedures such as extractions or fillings; this generally lasts two to four hours after being administered. Some dentists and surgeons use nitrous oxide or laughing gas to calm patients before starting a procedure. The effect of nitrous oxide calms you; therefore, you should not drive yourself home.

General anesthesia is used with difficult extractions or small children who may not hold still — this causes sleep and unconsciousness during the procedure, so you should have someone else be responsible for driving you home afterward because you could remain groggy for several hours following the procedure.

Types of Exercise

If you've had major dental work done, your body will tell you to take it easy and when you feel up to exercise. Even if you have a lot of energy, you should still use caution — especially the day of surgery and the following few days. The key is to avoid engaging in vigorous activity or motion— keep it flowing and nonjarring.

One way to do this is through range-of-motion, or ROM, exercises. ROM exercises benefit your joints and muscles by keeping them flexible and healthy while also being low impact on your jaw and head area. Exercises include repetitively moving your shoulders and arms in synchronized movements to improve blood flow.

If your doctor prescribes pain relievers postsurgery, some of the side effects may include tiredness or dizziness — exercise caution when working out.

Precautions and Warnings

If you're following your dentist's orders regarding exercise and recovery time, your mouth and gums should heal properly. In some cases, a jarring of the head or a sudden move may cause a loose filling, cap or crown. It could also dislodge a blood clot in the gums.

Bleeding, extreme pain, or a green or white discharge should warrant a trip back to your dental provider as soon as possible for an examination.

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