Wisdom Tooth and Involuntary Rest From Training

wisdom tooth, wisdom teeth, running, break, involuntary, no workout, no running, surgery, marathon training, rest,

Yeah, I know. A wisdom tooth has little to do with training. Usually. But you may have already guessed that one caused the other. And that is exactly what’s happening right now. Frankly, though, I didn’t see this coming. And this again sidelines me again. Well, for a few days. 

Surprising to many, I had 4 fully grown wisdom teeth in my whole adult life. Whenever I went to a new dentist office, I always got the same response. A surprise and compliment about them because they were perfectly in place. Without causing any problems.

wisdom tooth, wisdom teeth, running, break, involuntary, no workout, no running, dental fillings, fillings, marathon training, rest, surgery,  These are not my teeth. The fillings just look similar

Of course, like some teeth of mine, the two bottom wisdom teeth were decayed in the middle and were filled with dental fillings. I do not remember exactly when, but I’ll say that it has been 20 plus years. But other than that, they never presented a major concern. Ever.

Well, that was till yesterday when I walked into my dentist’s office.

Usually wisdom teeth may not need to be removed when they are;

  • healthy
  • grown in completely
  • positioned correctly
  • able to be cleaned as part of daily hygiene practices

But, according to a New York Times article…

“It’s hard to get a percentage, but probably 75 to 80 percent of people do not meet the criteria of being able to successfully maintain their wisdom teeth,” said Dr. Louis K. Rafetto of Wilmington, Del., who headed the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons’ task force on wisdom teeth.

Another expert, Dr. Raymond P. White Jr., a professor of surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, said that roughly 60 to 70 percent of patients with wisdom teeth will eventually have trouble with them, but he acknowledged that data is limited. “We’re making decisions based on the best data we have,” he said.

Those persuasive numbers are used repeatedly by dentists and oral surgeons to justify routine removal of wisdom teeth. Just last year, the surgeons’ association issued a statement subtitled “Keeping Wisdom Teeth May Be More Harmful Than Previously Thought,” saying it was imperative that patients understood “how harmful retaining these wisdom teeth can be.”

The association said that 80 percent of young adults who retained previously healthy wisdom teeth developed problems within seven years, and that retained wisdom teeth are extracted up to 70 percent of the time.

Apparently, it was my time.

Due to the recent change of my dental insurance, new X-ray was taken, and the dentist suggested that we remove the wisdom tooth sitting in the left bottom to stop causing root resorption of adjacent teeth.

wisdom tooth, wisdom teeth, running, break, involuntary, no workout, no running, dental fillings, fillings, marathon training, rest, surgery,  This isn’t my X-ray, in case you were wondering

According to him, the tartar buildup penetrated underneath my wisdom tooth in question, and it caused the jaw bone that the wisdom tooth was supposed to be embedded to sink.

Can it really happen?

Well, while I was asking myself that question, the dentist pointed at the hollow dip in the X-ray film where the part of my jaw bone was supposed to be. Basically, there was nothing that this wisdom tooth to stay on, of course, other than my gun. No embedment in the bone, which explains a bit of looseness. And that is why he was surprised to hear that I never had any pain.

And then I asked the dentist with a reservation, like a very concerned 5-year-old boy with a bit of scare,

Would it really hurt once the tooth is removed?

The dentist simply replied, “No. It shouldn’t.”

After numbing the entire left bottom of my mouth with anesthetics, I didn’t feel a thing, thankfully, when the wisdom tooth was actually removed. He stitched it up with sutures, and a gauze was put in over the wound to stop the bleed. To my surprise though I was told that I was not allowed to take my wisdom tooth with me. So, I just took photos for something to remember by. However, it is too bloody messy and even too gross to look at, I’ve decided not to share them on here.

At the front desk where I was given post-surgery instructions, I learned that it was recommended definitely not to work out, run or even golf. In other words, any exercise that would increase the heart to pump out more blood (increase of heart beat) like we talked about it here in terms of increasing the heart rate of pumping out blood carrying O2 in exchange of CO2 is a no for a week.

Hence, my training is, involuntarily, being on hold. However, I will probably go out and run as soon as the wound seems to be healing fine anyway. And, in fact, I looked up information as to ‘avoiding strenuous workouts and running,’ the following is what I came across.

  • On the same day after surgery
    • Do not disturb the wound, rinse the mouth or brush the teeth
    • Take soft diet for a few days and use the teeth of the opposite side of the jaw for chewing
    • Do not perform heavy work or strenuous exercise
    • Do not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages

I think the key words are ‘on the same day,’ not days after. However, the receptionist stressed that one of their patients came back with nonstop bleeding after working out at the gym. Surely, I don’t want that. So, I may have to take it easy for at least a few days by running at a much slower pace.

I’m going back to the dentist to remove the sutures. Apparently, it isn’t self dissolve type, but my guess is that the dentist wants to make sure that the wound is healing properly.

So, my first and hopefully last wisdom tooth removal surgery came and went and is now in the books, let me take a look at what else is.

Week Countdown Week Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Amount
Pre-training 2 3/9-3/15 Rest 4 6 4 6 3 8 31
4.31 6.25 4.16 3.12 17.84

As to the training progress that I made this week, I ran almost every day except for the last Friday due to work. I came home very late, and seriously running 6 miles at 10 pm was not that appealing to me, especially after spending 13 hours at work.

I was going to run that 6 miles in the following Saturday (yesterday) evening, but obviously, the wisdom tooth removal event took place around noon, and this weekend is not being very productive.

I believe that I may resume running Tuesday at an easy pace and see how the wound holds up. Hope I do not end up clinching my teeth with a gauze over the wound again to stop the bleed from running.

Have you ever had any surgery that prevented you from running or cross training? Have you ever had your wisdom tooth removed and faced a dilemma of not exercising? How long did it take you to get back in training or resume exercising?

Thanks for reading.


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About H Peter Ji Photography

I am a photographer. My photos have been sold on EyeEm, Adobe Stock and ShutterStock and also featured on ViewBug and G+ Landscape Photography Community, and via Death Valley National Park Instagram and Facebook. My work is the natural byproduct of my love for outdoors - backpacking, hiking and camping in nature.

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