Cycling After Tooth Extraction – The Complete Guide


Having a tooth extracted is never the nicest of things to happen to you. It can be painful as it is a form of surgery, but what happens when it comes to cycling after it?

Oral surgeons recommend not to cycle for at least 24 hours after a tooth extraction. Some may recommend up to 72 hours, depending on the circumstances of the extraction. When returning to cycling, it is better to ease yourself in with a light regime if possible.

Many people will face a tooth extraction as an unexpected emergency, giving little time to plan what to do immediately afterward.

In this complete guide, I’ll give you all the facts about cycling after a tooth extraction, how long to wait, what to avoid, and how to return to cycling in the best possible way.

Cycling after tooth extraction

Cycling After A Tooth Extraction

When it comes to cycling after a tooth extraction, the main thing to focus on is the time scale. 

An oral surgeon is always going to recommend avoiding any kind of strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours after an extraction.

There are a number of health and medical reasons for this, and it’s not advisable to then ignore their advice and go about doing your own thing. [Source]

The one thing I can state with absolute certainty is that you should never just have a tooth extracted in the morning, and then be out for a cycle later on in the day. You could feel absolutely fine when it comes to the extraction, but that is not what you have to pay attention to.

So, it is not a good idea under any circumstances or situation.

Why You Cannot Exercise After a Tooth Extraction – 3 Reasons

A tooth extraction may not seem like too much to some people, but it’s actually quite a traumatic thing for the body to go through. Putting your body through the stress of exercise after it is not a good idea. 

This applies to any kind of surgery, but people often overlook a tooth extraction and see it as a minor thing.

For your body, that is not the case.

Putting it under duress so soon after it has had to deal with an extraction is not the thing you should be doing. 

We really cannot stress that point enough, and we will continue to do so as we move through explaining what is going on, and how your body is coping.

Blood Pressure

Doing any sort of exercise after a tooth extraction is going to result in an increase in blood pressure, and that’s not what you want to happen at this point in time. 

An increase in your blood pressure is more likely to result in some bleeding coming from the tooth extraction site, and you need things to coagulate as quickly as possible. If the area does not coagulate, then a number of problems can occur over the first few days.

Of course, cycling is going to push your blood pressure up as you exert yourself, so it is certainly not a good idea at any point.

The Blood Clot Could Become Dislodged

The blood clot that has to be formed after an extraction is key to the healing process. Anything that could lead to this becoming dislodged needs to be avoided. 

The movement, and also going over humps and bumps, can certainly be more than enough for the blood clot to come out of the gap where the tooth once used to be.

Add in the blood pressure problem mentioned above, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Being On Painkillers Changes Things

A number of oral surgeons would also state that being on painkillers would change things when it comes to recovery. Remember that the recovery time is going to be directly linked to the time you spend away from cycling.

In some instances, an oral surgeon would recommend you do not resume cycling until you are finished with a course of painkillers, or any other medication that may be given to you.

This is purely from a healing and medical perspective, and it would be wise to follow their advice.

But as you can see, the main reasons why you cannot cycle straight after a tooth extraction is entirely related to medical reasons. It’s advisable to listen to the advice given no matter how tempted you are to get back on your bike.

Of course, even though you may feel absolutely fine, it’s the hidden dangers and potential problems that can be an issue.

That is why you need to take the advice of experts, and not simply go on how you feel.

Man following tooth extraction engaging in light cycling
Light cycling is recommended when you return to your bike, as opposed to something more strenuous

How Long Does it Take? The Factors To Consider

So how long should all of this take, and when can you go back to cycling?

Well, it’s something you need to discuss with your oral surgeon.

It can all depend on the difficulty of the extraction, which tooth, and also your own individual healing process. We all heal at different speeds, and that can have a direct impact on the length of time you need to spend off your bike.

In general, the first 24 hours should not involve you doing anything. You need to rest and allow the body to start the healing process.

It doesn’t need to be doing anything else.

However, a number of oral surgeons will recommend avoiding any stressful exercise for a few days, and typically an absolute minimum of 72 hours. 

This period of time should give your mouth enough time to really be getting on with the healing process. It should then eliminate the possibility of running into some sort of problem or complication in the future.

But as we said, you need to discuss this at the time as your oral surgeon is the best person to tell you exactly how long you should be waiting.

Starting Back Cycling After a Tooth Extraction

If I jump ahead in time and say you are now at the point where it’s safe to get back on your bike. At this point, knowing how hard you can push things is clearly important.

Several days may have passed since the extraction, but you shouldn’t leap into your training and going full power. That would be insane, and you do run the very real risk of undoing at least part of the healing process.

So, this is what I recommend…

Start Off with a Light Cycle

The first thing to do is to focus on simply having a light cycle.

Just use it to get your legs in motion once more, but do so without stressing yourself.

This is such a gentle ride that you should not even feel as if you are pushing yourself at any point. You don’t want to be putting your blood pressure up too high at this point.

Also, while you are having this light cycle, keep the pace low and the same goes for the distance. 

Have No Pressure

The first couple of times you go out for a cycle after a tooth extraction, then I recommend making sure there’s no pressure.

You do not want to be getting anywhere near to the stage where you are working hard and feel that your breathing is increasing.

It’s best to look at this as simply the opportunity to have a leisurely cycle. Think about how you would go for a short cycle with kids in tow.

Would you look at getting your head down and trying to cover a substantial distance in the shortest time possible?

The answer to that will be absolutely not, and why would you?

So, keep in mind that the pressure is off you, and there’s no reason for you to not go ahead and just enjoy a short cycle without trying to reach any sort of goal in the meantime.

When it Comes with Difficulties

But if your extraction came with some difficulty, or if you had more than one tooth out, then this changes everything.

If you have had some major work carried out, then it could be several weeks before you are able to really get back on your bike.

It has to be stressed that this is unusual and certainly rare. However, it is certainly something where your surgeon will be stressing the need for rest.

Keep in mind we are talking about some major surgery here. Most people do not get this, so the chances of it being weeks before you can resume cycling remain very low.

What About Wisdom Teeth?

The most common form of tooth extraction is probably going to be wisdom tooth extraction. So, people feel that a wisdom tooth extraction is often problematic, but that’s not always the case.

In the case of a wisdom tooth, then it is often the same as a normal tooth extraction. That means the healing process takes the same length of time as any other tooth extraction.

However, that also applies only when there have been no complications.

If you had to have the gum cut, or if you have had all of your wisdom teeth removed at one time, then it does change when you are able to cycle. 

If it involved all four, or major surgery on your wisdom tooth, then it could be closer to a week before you can even think about doing any form of exercise. Going on your bike for a cycle is certainly not something that is recommended at this point.

Once again, turn to your oral surgeon for advice.

However, prepare yourself for some pretty bad news and the potential for a longer time off your bike than you would have liked.

How About a Stationary Bike?

Considering the stress you can be putting your body under by going out and cycling outdoor, what about a stationary bike?

Well, that can be slightly different for some people.

It can be argued that a stationary bike is less stressful on the body. You are not dealing with various things you would encounter on the road, and there is some truth in that part.

When it comes to a stationary bike, then you can certainly go for a ‘ride’ on there before you are recommended to do so outside. However, even here it’s best to keep things nice and light.

Also, you really need to stop cycling before you get to the point where you are starting to breathe more heavily.

You do not want that to happen, so while it’s enticing to get those legs going and feel you are able to put a lot of effort into a ride, please do avoid doing so.

You may even want to set a reminder for yourself about how long you have been on your bike. It may not feel like much when there’s next to no resistance on the pedals, but you don’t want any resistance.

But please do not even contemplate going on a stationary bike for the first day or so after a tooth extraction. It may be easier for you, but it’s not going to be the best way forward when it comes to making sure your gum and mouth can heal correctly.

Overall Conclusion

And that is everything that there is to know about cycling after a tooth extraction. As you can see, it’s not a good idea until some time has passed, and you are putting your health at risk if you try to do it anyway.

There are a number of medical reasons as to why this is not a good idea. Pay attention to the medicine, and you will be absolutely fine. 

We know it can be annoying not being able to get back on your bike when you want to. However, a bit of patience in these first few days will mean you can resume in next to no time and know you will not come up against any obstacles down the line.

Martin Williams

Martin has been tearing up all sorts of trails on a range of bikes ever since he was young. He once cycled across France, and once fell into a canal on a hybrid. He writes about everything to do with cycling on our site. You can find out more about him at bicycle2work.com/about-martin-williams/

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