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What to Expect After Scaling and Root Planing

Team Periodontics

Scaling and root planing is a dental procedure that is sometimes called a “deep cleaning.”  During scaling and root planing, the dentist removes any plaque and debris that may have accumulated between the roots of the teeth and the gums. 

Scaling and root planing is more intensive than basic dental cleaning. Think of it as a super cleaning.  As such, patients may not know what to expect afterward. By preparing for your scaling and root planing, you can plan your day and set yourself up for success. 

As always, you should follow directions from your dentist first and foremost. However, this information can help you prepare more generally. 

Will I Be in Pain After Scaling and Root Planing? 

It is normal for some achiness for a few days after the procedure. This is typically relieved by over-the-counter medication like Advil or Tylenol. 

Most people will also have slight discomfort during regular home care with brushing and flossing during the first couple of days. This disappears quickly as the pre-existing gum infections heal. 

Other Side Effects of Scaling and Root Planing

Sometimes, tooth sensitivity to hot or cold may be present after the teeth are cleaned. This sensitivity can last for a few days or up to six weeks. It typically resolves uneventfully. Fluoride may be prescribed to reduce any sensitivity.

You may notice some light bleeding in your gums after a scaling and root planing procedure. This side effect is particularly common while brushing your teeth. The slight bleeding usually resolves within a few days.

Fever and jaw discomfort are rare side effects from scaling and root planing. Fevers are generally mild. Consider drinking extra water and taking over-the-counter fever reducers to treat this issue. 

If you have any jaw pain after scaling and root planing, it should go away with over-the-counter pain medication. If the pain is severe or does not go away with medication, call your dentists. 

How to Care for Your Teeth After Scaling and Root Planing

Although it may be uncomfortable, it’s important to continue brushing your teeth 2-3 times daily and floss at least 1 time per day after scaling and root planing. To ease the discomfort, use an ultra-soft toothbrush and floss. You may also consider using desensitizing toothpaste, like Sensodyne, for at least four weeks after the procedure. 

Most importantly, follow all of the directions from your dentist. They may prescribe fluoride or other products as part of your follow-up directions. 

Deep Dental Cleaning in Monmouth County, NJ

Scaling and root planing is an excellent way to treat the beginning stages of gum disease. This relatively simple procedure can prevent serious complications like the decay of the tooth and bone infections causing tooth loss. 

If you want the benefits of scaling and root planing, contact us to set up an appointment. Our friendly staff will give you detailed instructions after your procedure, so you can smile confidently.