Tooth extraction can be a painful process for anyone, but if you sing for your supper or just for pleasure, your ability to hit the proper notes will be impacted right after surgery. If you are concerned about returning to your former chanteuse self, your dentist will recommend how soon you can resume singing. If you are having surgery or a more serious extraction, consider seeing an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who may have experience with professional actors and singers.
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Whether you have a standard tooth extraction or surgery, you should avoid vigorous activity for up to 24 hours. While singing doesn’t qualify as vigorous physical activity, the pain from the extraction site will prevent you from opening your mouth very wide, much less singing. Talking will sufficiently exercise the lips and jaw and minimize some of the pain when you resume singing after 24 hours have passed. Don’t be alarmed if you aren’t hitting the notes perfectly once you start singing again. Until your jaw is able to open as wide as it needs to, and in the shape required for a particular note, you may not make the beautiful music you intend. As long an infection does not set in, singing may actually help lessen the pain in the jaw more quickly.
Exercise Your Mouth and Jaw
Try singing a short but simple song, perhaps a lullaby or children’s song, as it will move sore muscles and speed the healing process. While it won’t hurt your mouth or the extraction site, extensive singing will be painful for up to one week. If you’re discouraged by the sound of the notes, try whispering the words, which will exercise your mouth but not be as disconcerting. Continue talking when you aren’t singing to ensure that your jaw doesn’t stiffen from lack of use.
Keep post-extraction gauze pads in place for one hour and then discard them. If bleeding persists, continue to place clean, sterile gauze pads over the site and replace every hour until the bleeding subsides. You should maintain a liquid diet and eat soft foods for the first 24 hours, but do not suck the food or liquids through a straw. If swelling occurs, hold an ice pack against your cheek next to the wound site, which will also help with the pain. Follow your physician’s advice and take any prescribed antibiotics or pain medications, which will speed your healing and get your singing voice in shape more quickly.
If you are unable to return to singing within a week, you should call your dentist or surgeon to make an appointment. Signs that indicate the site isn’t healing properly include the socket bleeding or oozing for more than 48 hours, numbing that persists for more than a few days or a fever setting in or spiking after several days, which may indicate an infection. A severe ache along your jawbone could be an indication of dry socket. Any of these problems will prevent you from being able to sing effectively.