Dental Scaling and Root Planing Aftercare

Have you been told recently that you need a dental scaling and root planing treatment? Don’t be alarmed. Dental scaling is a relatively common procedure performed to remove the buildup of excess plaque from the gums and teeth. Many Americans have this procedure done to help reduce the risk of gum disease and restore their gums to a healthier state. Are you wondering what exactly happens during and after the procedure? Below is more information to help prepare you for what to expect from the dental scaling and root planing procedure.

What is Dental Scaling?

Everyone gets plaque that builds up along the gumline, this is just a part of everyday eating and drinking. But if this plaque continues to buildup overtime it can irritate the gums and cause infection or disease to the tissue. While a standard dental cleaning helps to remove this plaque, the procedure usually focuses on the surface of the tooth. For individuals who haven’t had a cleaning in a while or who are more prone to build up, the dental scaling and root planing procedure is a much deeper cleaning to help remove excessive plaque along and under the gums. The scaling procedure targets the buildup along the gumline and the planing cleans the root of the tooth so the gums will attach.

After the Procedure

Because the scaling and planing procedure is more invasive than a routine cleaning you can expect to need some recovery time for your gums and mouth to heal. Immediately following the procedure, you may experience any of the following:

  • Discomfort/Pain: This discomfort is only temporary and should only last a few days. After the anesthetic wears off this discomfort may be more notable. Any headache or throbbing should only last a few hours, while discomfort with brushing should only last a few days.
  • Tooth Sensitivity: Immediately after the procedure you can expect for your teeth to be sensitive to temperature changes. This too should fade after a few days.
  • Bleeding: Some individuals experience light bleeding during brushing for a few days. This is only because your gums may be irritated from the procedure.
  • Appearance: For some individuals, the root of their tooth may be more exposed as their gums start to heal and inflammation wears off.

Aftercare Instructions

There are little things you can do to help with any of these symptoms. Here are a few tips:

  • Eating: Avoid chewing hard foods such as meat and vegetables or candy for a few days. Try soft foods until the discomfort fades and you can chew again
    without pain.
  • Discomfort/Pain/Sensitivity: Try taking an over the counter pain reliever such as Acetaminophen to reduce discomfort. If you experience tooth sensitivity try using a desensitizing toothpaste.
  • Oral Hygiene: If the tissue in your mouth is tender, try brushing more gently. Don’t stop brushing. After 4 days you can and should resume your normal oral hygiene. You should also try adding a mouth rinse to your hygiene routine for one to two weeks. Consider an antimicrobial rinse, or a warm saline rinse.

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