Just a short post today. I wanted to share about running after dental work, as I decided to get my wisdom teeth pulled 5 days before I started marathon training.
My friend had postponed dental work and got a really bad infection that put her in the hospital. I decided to stop avoiding my own dental work and scheduled to get it done on Wednesday before training started on Monday. I figured even if my recovery was longer than anticipated, it would be better than doing it during training or waiting until my November marathon was done.
Dentists have always been surprised to look in my mouth to see all four wisdom teeth sitting in my tiny mouth. They pulled them out while I was under MAC (monitored anesthesia care) with great expertise. Within a few minutes of me waking up, when the assistant and surgeon were explaining important things to TH, I interrupted, “When can I run again?”
There was probably some giggles, and they answered that I could run after I stopped using the narcotics. Ask your surgeon about your specific care and recovery plan.
Allowing yourself to heal
First, I prepared myself (and my insane dog) by front-loading my week with running.
Then after surgery, I gave myself permission to heal. I recognized that my body had gone through what amounted to a traumatic experience and let energy go toward healing. I ate more than I thought I should for my activity levels. I was gentle with myself when I tired easily. Even though I had a great surgery and recovery, it was still a week before I felt back to myself. I got that jolt of happiness and energy, like when you emerge from the other side of a cold or flu and “normal” feels like “RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES!!”.
5 tips for running after dental work
- Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Remember energy used during a run can’t be used to heal.
- Don’t clench your teeth. Relax your jaw and open your mouth a bit as you run.
- Periodically check in with your body. How does your mouth feel with all the jostling? How does your head feel?
- Don’t overdo it and set yourself back. Leave yourself energy to heal.
- And maybe, you know, plan your life so that you’re not rushing surgery before training start. Then (maybe) you’ll be more patient before running again.
I ended up only missing 3 regular running days. For my first day of marathon training, I swapped my first run and a cross-training day. I used my bike on a trainer for 30 minutes to ease me back into exercise before running a short run outside the next day.