Can You Go Swimming After Dental Surgery

Swimmer in the pool

Undergoing dental surgery is a significant decision, and ensuring a successful recovery requires following the post-operative instructions for care closely. A critical part of your recovery is understanding what activities are recommended and which ones you should avoid until you heal thoroughly. Swimming may seem safe, even after dental surgery, but risks are involved. If you’re an avid lover of playing in the water and want to know when you can safely return to it, this guide will help you plan your next trip. Dickey Dental is dedicated to ensuring all its patients recover from their surgeries successfully and can enjoy the things they love most.

Why You Should Avoid Swimming After Dental Surgery

Water-related activities are a great way to stay fit and healthy. They’re low-impact and can do beautiful things for your stamina and overall health. However, swimming after dental surgery needs to wait. Chemicals, bacteria, and contaminants in the water can pose a direct risk of infection, making your healing process take longer. Also, the environment around your swimming area can be treacherous, increasing the likelihood of slipping and jarring your surgical site. 

Reasons to avoid swimming after surgery include:

  • Infection Risks: As with almost any surgery, dental surgical procedures leave open wounds at risk of infection. While you’re at the most significant risk for infection in natural water sources, public pools aren’t safe either. The chlorine levels in many public pools are high enough to make swimming safe. However, enough bacteria remain in the water to cause infection in an open wound.
  • Chemical Risks: Whether in a public pool or a natural lake, there is still a risk of exposure to chemicals that could irritate the open wound. The chlorine in public pools is particularly harsh and can damage the tissue around the surgical site. However, natural bodies of water still tend to have oil, diesel, fertilizers, and other noxious chemicals. Again, these are usually safe if you don’t have an open wound.
  • Dislodging Blood Clots – Following the removal of a tooth, a blood clot forms within the socket. This blood clot protects the pulp within the empty socket from infection. Unfortunately, you must be careful to avoid knocking it out of position. Strenuous activities such as swimming and exercise increase the risk of it becoming knocked loose.

Thankfully, you don’t often have to wait long to return to swimming after your surgery. The exact length of time will depend heavily on the specific details of your surgery. A tooth extraction generally requires a day or two of recovery before swimming is safe again. Dental implants, on the other hand, may require a couple of weeks of recovery before you can hit the pool.

Contact Dickey Dental To Learn More About Swimming After Surgery

Call us if you’re scheduled to undergo dental surgery or have recently done so and want to get back to the water. Our team will help you understand your recovery process and give you a timeline for getting back to swimming. Call us at (803) 329-2126 and schedule a consultation or appointment. You can also call for quick advice if you’re already one of our patients.