We don’t need our teeth to play golf, so why would it matter if you head straight to the golf course after having your wisdom teeth removed?
Well, there’s actually a one HUGE thing to know about playing golf after wisdom teeth removal.
So, read up…play it safe…and don’t make things worse by having to miss more time off the course.
Can I golf after wisdom teeth removal?
You should not play golf immediately after having your wisdom teeth extracted. Uncomplicated extractions need to wait for at least 48 hours before playing golf. Physical exertion can dislodge blood clots at extraction sites. Impacted wisdom teeth removal may require 4 – 5 days’ recovery time.
If you are one of the 5 million people having their wisdom teeth removed this year, you may be wondering if you can take advantage of the days booked off work to get in a few rounds.
Wisdom teeth removal is so common that it has almost become a rite of passage for many young adults, so how long do you need to wait before you can get back to golf?
Since swinging a golf club isn’t quite the same as playing a contact sport like football, you may feel like golfing after your procedure is perfectly safe. However, this seemingly routine procedure may not be as straightforward as it seems, and rushing things could have serious and potentially painful results.
Golf after wisdom teeth removal
Not all wisdom teeth extraction procedures are identical. Some people only need two teeth extracted which may be done with a local anesthetic at your dentist.
Others may require four impacted wisdom teeth removed, and it is a far more complicated procedure done under general anesthetic and often requires stitches.
Each patient is different, and recovery and healing times differ significantly according to the complexity of the procedure.
However, it is safe to say that you should not consider any physical exertion, whether playing golf, mowing the lawn, or jogging around the block for at least 48 hours, even if you only had an uncomplicated wisdom teeth removal procedure.
Keep in mind that besides the actual surgical procedure, you may need to take pain medication that could have a range of side effects all on its own. Your reflexes may not be as sharp, or driving may not be advisable.
If your post-procedure pain is under control, you are probably wondering why taking a stroll around the golf course straight after having your wisdom teeth removed is not recommended.
The answer revolves around the essential function of the small blood clots that form over the extraction sites.
Why are blood clots so important?
After any tooth extraction, the body immediately forms a blood clot ‘plug’ to seal and protect the empty socket that has been created.
The blood clots that form quickly after a tooth extraction procedure need to stay in place for the first 2 days as they are vital in the healthy healing process.
The purpose of the blood clots at the wisdom teeth extraction sites are:
- To protect the bone below
- To plug the hole so new tissue can form below
- To prevent infection
- To prevent bleeding
These temporary blood clot plugs must be preserved at all costs for the first few days post wisdom teeth removal. Any physical exertion or worse, forgetting about them and munching a burger when you pass the halfway house could dislodge them.
If the blood clots get removed before enough healing has taken place, a condition known as dry socket may result. This can be extremely painful as bone is exposed, and recovery will take much longer.
Why is playing golf dangerous after wisdom teeth removal?
It is recommended that patients don’t do any physical activities at all after having their wisdom teeth extracted.
That includes even going for a walk around the block. In addition to keeping the blood clots in place, it is common to experience light-headedness or nausea after the procedure.
The best thing to do after you have your wisdom teeth removed is to stay quietly at home, near ice packs that can reduce swelling and where you can keep pain under control.
Even if you are not experiencing a lot of discomfort, you must remain completely aware of the wounds in your mouth so that you don’t accidentally do anything that will impede healing.
What golfing activities could hamper healing?
As all golfers know, there is much more to playing a round than ambling sedately around the golf course. Some movements and activities associated with the game can cause discomfort or slow the healing process after wisdom teeth removal.
Let’s look at a few activities that need to be avoided for at least 48 hours after you have had your wisdom teeth removed.
This is a minimum time frame, and it may need to be longer if you had a more invasive procedure involving impacted teeth.
- Physical exertion – All physical activity should be limited for at least 24 hours, even after a simple single tooth extraction.
- Bending over – so picking up golf balls is not a good idea, especially if you had anesthesia. Bending down causes blood to rush to your head, which may dislodge the blood clots or cause bleeding.
- Eating food that involves chewing – If you don’t have a lot of discomfort, it may be hard to remember not to eat solid food if you are with your friends at the halfway house.
- Sucking on straws – Blood clots covering the sockets need to stay in place, so drinks must be sipped carefully.
- Grinning – Of course, you will smile if you play golf with friends. Toothy smiles are an unconscious response for most people, but smiling a lot in the open air can introduce air into the wounds. That will cause pain and increase the risk of developing dry socket.
- Drinking alcohol – It’s all about keeping the blood clots in place. A visit to the nineteenth hole with your golfing buddies after your game could spell disaster for the healing process.
- Hot drinks – Hot drinks should be avoided while the clots are forming.
Why must I stay still after wisdom teeth removal?
Moving around increases your blood pressure. The formation and placement of the blood clots over the extraction sites are absolutely essential during the healing process.
With an increase in blood pressure (which is an inevitable result of physical activity), the wounds where the wisdom teeth were removed are more likely to ooze or bleed. This will affect the formation of the clots, or it could loosen them if they have already formed.
If you have stitches closing the wounds, a lot of movement may cause them to rupture. Besides the inevitable pain, the sutures would need to be fixed, and the healing process would take much longer.
You can always expect swelling after you have had your wisdom tooth removed. Although your mouth may not be painful at the start of the round, grinning involves a lot of muscles that should stay still during the recovery process, especially if you have stitches.
It is common for patients to receive painkillers to manage pain following wisdom teeth removal. These can mask pain, and you may ignore warning symptoms while playing golf, snacking, and socializing.
It is far better to play it safer to stay quietly at home and watch golf on tv for a few days following wisdom teeth removal.
Can I drive a golf cart after wisdom teeth removal?
If your wisdom teeth were removed using a local anesthetic, it is safe to drive a golf cart.
However, if you received a more potent sedative or had a general anesthetic, it is essential to wait for at least 24-hours after the procedure before attempting to drive any vehicle or operate machinery.
You must also be aware of the side effects of any medication you may be taking for pain or swelling. Some have contraindications regarding driving any type of vehicle.
Signs that you need to stop playing golf and get help
Every wisdom teeth removal procedure is different, so while one person may be able to play golf after 48 hours, another may need to wait for a week or more.
Once you decide to head to the course, it is essential to stay attuned to your body for any signs that could indicate that you may need a little more time to heal.
If you experience any adverse symptoms while playing golf in the days following having your wisdom teeth removed, you need to stop immediately and consult your dentist or surgeon. These include:
- Sudden excessive swelling
- Ruptured sutures
- Light-headedness or dizziness
- Sudden pain
All post-procedure symptoms must be taken seriously, and you must abandon your round of golf and seek medical attention immediately.
If the wounds have started bleeding, it could mean that the clots have come out. Your dentist may need to cover the holes with dressings to avoid the formation of dry socket.
What can go wrong after wisdom teeth removal?
Having your wisdom teeth removed has become so commonplace that many people forget that it can have serious health implications if not properly taken care of.
Unlike dressings placed over wounds on other parts of the body, the inside of your mouth is a little trickier to keep sterile.
There are four complications that most frequently occur after wisdom teeth removal. Patients must adhere carefully to follow-up instructions surrounding care to minimize the possibility of any of these conditions occurring:
- Dry socket – This is by far the most common complication experienced after wisdom teeth removal. This painful condition occurs when the protective blood clots in the sockets get moved before any healing tissue has formed.
- Ruptured sutures – A sudden increase in blood pressure caused by exertion or bending can open wounds that have been stitched closed. Also, eating incorrect foods during the initial healing process may open wounds and cause bleeding.
- Infection – Your dentist or doctor must check out any fever, throbbing pain, discharge, or fever, as you may need a course of infection-fighting antibiotics.
- Limited mouth opening – This isn’t something that can be avoided, as limited jaw mobility after wisdom teeth removal is usually the result of a lengthy procedure. You may require medication to alleviate pain or relax the muscles if you experience limited jaw movement or stiffness following the removal of your wisdom teeth.
Frequently asked questions
You may have realized that wisdom teeth removal may be more complicated than you thought. Adult teeth are formed to last a lifetime, so taking them out inevitably takes a toll on the body.
Let’s take a look at two frequently asked questions:
Can I play golf 3 days after wisdom teeth removal?
Most people can safely play golf 3 days after they have had their wisdom teeth removed, especially if it was uncomplicated surgery.
If you are experiencing no complications 3 days after having the procedure, low-impact exercises like golf can be resumed.
It is highly recommended to always check with your surgeon or dentist before heading to the golf course following any tooth extractions. If you are taking any strong painkillers or medication, get someone else to drive you to the golf course.
Can I golf after tooth extraction?
A lot of attention gets paid to wisdom teeth extractions, but the same care must be taken when any extraction of adult teeth occurs.
The open socket can become a magnet for infection; without proper care, the wound can take a long time to heal.
Following the procedure, a blood clot will form in the socket, which needs to be protected to allow new tissue to start developing underneath.
This protective clot can easily be moved by increased blood pressure from walking around the course, bending to pick up your ball, or even enjoying a cool drink through a straw.
If you have only had one tooth removed, the same follow-up rules apply as when you have had uncomplicated wisdom teeth extractions. Always wait at least 48 hours before resuming physical activity to allow the wound to settle.
Use good wisdom, don’t rush back to the course too soon
Giving yourself plenty of time to heal before hitting the golf course following wisdom teeth removal is imperative.
This common procedure is not always simple or straightforward, and playing too soon could result in painful complications like dry socket.
Although it is commonly deemed safe to resume gentle, no-contact sports like golf 48 hours post-surgery, you must always consult a doctor to get the okay before heading to the golf course.
Recovery time after wisdom teeth removal is the perfect time to perfect your swing by watching YouTube while relaxing at home!
Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/wolfitgolf and let us know how golf treats you post wisdom teeth removal.