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Can I Exercise After Dental Work?

author image Julie Boehlke
Julie is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves to camp with friends and family. Julie spends her free time writing, working on her novel and brewing up new recipes of wine—her newest hobby. She enjoys scouring junk shops and antique boutiques in search of rare finds and one of-a-kind treasures. She collects vintage dishes and antiquarian books. Julie spends her days being followed around aimlessly by her most adoring fan—Mushu the pug. She ventures out on weekends to the remote trails and deep north woods of Michigan. Julie also enjoys exploring out of the way nooks and crannies along the great lakes shoreline.
Can I Exercise After Dental Work?
You should use caution after having major dental work done. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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. 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.

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Dental Procedures

There is a broad spectrum of procedures you can have done at the dentist 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 non-invasive 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 will want to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully. The main thing is not having your sutures or blood clot on the gums separate or dislodge – this can lead to further complications including infection. If you had a cap or crown on your teeth, you may want to hold off on strenuous exercise for three to five days following the procedure.


Depending on your oral surgeon and what procedure you are having done, you may have to be sedated to reduce anxiety and numb your mouth. One type 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 wears completely 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 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 be responsible to drive you home afterward because you could remain groggy for several hours afterward.

Exercise Types

If you have had major dental work done, your body will tell you to take it easy and when you will 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 not engage in vigorous activity or motion – keep it flowing and non-jarring. One way you can 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 prescribed pain relievers post-surgery, some of the side effects may include tiredness or dizziness -- take caution when exercising.


If you are 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 for a close examination.

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