After Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing (deep teeth cleaning) usually requires two appointments to complete. This therapy involves treatment of the bone and tissues supporting the teeth. Because scaling and root planing involves debriding the root surfaces of the teeth and cleaning bacteria and build-up from the tissues surrounding the teeth, it often requires local anesthesia to insure your comfort.

  • Because local anesthesia is usually administered, it is important to be cautious after treatment. Avoid chewing foods until normal feeling returns to avoid injury to the tongue, lips, or cheeks.
  • Smoking should be avoided for at least 72 hours after scaling and root planing procedures because tobacco use interferes with healing.
  • Avoid any vigorous or strenuous aerobic activity for the remainder of the day.
  • You may experience some discomfort when the anesthetic wears off. Injection sites may also be sore. Discomfort immediately after treatment is usually associated with a slight aching, which normally dissipates within a few hours. Very seldom does swelling occur.
  • You may experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or sweets. This is normal and may persist for the first several days but should quickly diminish thereafter. A sensitive formula toothpaste, such as Sensodyne or Prevident, may help alleviate these symptoms.
  • Even before discomfort develops, it is helpful to start taking any one of the following over-the-counter pain medications: Ibuprofen (i.e., generic Motrin or Advil), Aleve, Aspirin, or Tylenol.
  • Warm salt-water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water) several times daily are also helpful to alleviate any discomfort or tenderness.
  • Eat only soft foods for the first 24 hours and avoid any hard or spicy foods which could cause irritation.
  • Drink plenty of water for the first 24 hours.
  • Although it is normal to experience some soreness, tenderness, or slight bleeding during the first few days following periodontal therapy, it is imperative that daily brushing and flossing be maintained. A clean mouth heals faster.
  • If you are using an electric toothbrush, you may continue to do so. If using a manual toothbrush, make sure it is always a soft brush. Brush with gentle circles on each tooth to help with plaque removal. Also, use fluoridated, tartar control toothpaste.
  • We will work with you to develop a maintenance program that is customized for you in order for you to maintain good periodontal health. At each of your periodontal maintenance appointments, we will measure your pocket depths and evaluate your progress along with recommending an appropriate frequency for further appointments. In general, more frequent maintenance appointments of three to four months are customary to keep your periodontal condition as stable as possible.
  • Daily plaque removal (brushing and flossing) and recommended periodontal maintenance appointments are crucial for the long-term success of your periodontal health.

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