Hiking After Wisdom Teeth Removal: How Long Should You Wait?

One of the biggest worries people have about getting their wisdom teeth pulled is how long it takes to recover. Nobody wants to be out of commission for days at a time, especially if you have plans for later that week. This happened to me a few years ago when I had to have my wisdom teeth removed right before a hiking trip that I had planned with a few friends.

Can you go hiking after getting your wisdom teeth removed?

It’s recommended to limit physical activity like hiking for up to 10 days after having your wisdom teeth removed. After surgery, it’s important to get proper rest to allow the healing phase to begin. If you participate in certain activities it could lead to complications like infection or dry socket.

Couple Hiking

Wisdom Teeth Healing Process

Most people aren’t fully aware of the healing process when removing wisdom teeth, especially since not everybody has to have it done. It’s important to know when you’re completely healed so that you can avoid infection and return to normal activities like hiking!

Hiking is one activity that increased your blood pressure and can delay the initial healing phase where blood clots being to seal the open socket. If this happens it could become harder to control the bleeding in your mouth where the wisdom teeth were removed.

There are five different stages that everyone goes through during the healing phase.

  • 12-24 Hours: General soreness in your jaw as the blood clots begin to form over the open wounds.
  • 2-3 Days: The mouth begins to swell as the cheeks feel better.
  • 6-7 Days: Stitches that haven’t fallen out can be removed by the dentist.
  • 7-10 Days: Any soreness in the jaw and back of the mouth should be gone.
  • 1-2 Weeks: You should be fully healed and have no further limitations.

You can find more information on these healing stages from this article.

Hiking & Other Activities After Surgery

The timeline above gives a great general guide to follow, but of course, it depends on a lot of other factors. Even though intense hiking isn’t advised for a week or so, it should be fine to do some light and easy hiking around the five-day mark after surgery.

Here are some example activities and the recommended time to wait until you do them:

Activity Time
Easy Hikes 3-5 Days
Light Activity 1-2 Days
Driving 24 Hours
Eating (soft food) 1-2 Hours
Brushing Teeth 24 Hours

Reasons Not To Hike After Tooth Removal

1. Sore Mouth and Jaw

Since removing wisdom teeth is a serious procedure, there’s going to be some soreness in your mouth as it works to heal. Doing activities like hiking won’t be as enjoyable since there’s always bound to be some discomfort around the area the teeth were removed.

You’ll also notice some slight swelling in your cheeks for the first 2-3 days but it shouldn’t last much longer than that.

2. Dizziness

Going on hiking trails while feeling dizzy or not one hundred percent isn’t the safest idea. It’s dangerous to be in a place that’s most likely high altitude, and also pretty far away from getting help if it’s needed.

3. Hard to Keep it Clean

One part of the healing procedure is letting blood clots form in your mouth, so it’s important to keep everything clean around the area. This usually means having to squirt water into your mouth to remove any food that gets stuck. There can also be some slight bleeding in the first day or two which needs to be cleaned and the bandages replaced.

Being out on the trail would make this a much more difficult situation, and could possibly lead to infections if dirt or anything else gets near the affected area. It’s better to stay at home or somewhere that’s close to a sink so that there are no worries about staying clean.

4. Lack of Food Options to Eat

There are limited options of food that can be eaten within the first few days after the surgery. Any hard food should be avoided and most soft options like soup or jello are safe and comfortable to eat. It wouldn’t be very fun trying to find food that is safe to eat and can be taken with you for a day hiking trip.

5. Taking Medication for Pain

Depending on the number of teeth removed and how the recovery level is, you’ll probably be taking some pain medication for some amount of time. If you’re given strong medication it’s definitely best to stay at home and stay away from any mountains or trails while you’re experiencing pain.