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Dental Scaling and Root Planing Aftercare

Dental scaling is a relatively common deep cleaning dental procedure performed to remove the buildup of excess plaque and bacteria from the gums and teeth. Many Americans have this procedure done to reduce the risk of gum disease and restore their gums to a healthier state. Has your dentist recently recommended that you consider a scaling and planing procedure? Are you wondering what 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 and the procedure recovery.

What is Dental Scaling?

The development of plaque and tarter along the gumline is normal with everyday eating and drinking. However, if this plaque is left to accumulate overtime, it can irritate the gums and cause infection and gum disease. Routine professional dental cleanings are important to remove this plaque, but these cleanings focus almost entirely on the surface of the tooth. For individuals who haven’t had a professional cleaning in a while or who are more prone to plaque buildup, the dental scaling and root planing procedure offers a much deeper cleaning to help remove excessive plaque below the gumline. For individuals with more advance buildup, root planing is focused on smoothing the surface of the tooth’s root below the gumline to support the healthy reattachment of the gums.

The Recovery Period

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

  • Discomfort and Pain: This discomfort is only temporary and should last just a few days. After the anesthetic wears off, you may notice the discomfort is more notable. Any headache or throbbing will only last a few hours, while discomfort with brushing may last a few days.
  • Tooth Sensitivity: Immediately after the procedure you can expect for your teeth to be more sensitive than usual to temperature changes. This sensitivity will fade after a few days.
  • Bleeding: The gums may be irritated after the procedure, which can result in some light bleeding during brushing for a few days.
  • Appearance: For some individuals, the root of the teeth may be more exposed as their gums start to heal and inflammation wears off.

Aftercare Instructions

Even though you can expect some discomfort and pain, there are little things you can do to help with these symptoms. You should expect to change your normal behaviors for a few days up to a week until your symptoms subside. Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid chewing hard foods such as meat, raw vegetables or candy for a few days.
  • Try an over the counter pain reliever to reduce discomfort.
  • If you experience tooth sensitivity try using a desensitizing toothpaste.
  • If the tissue in your mouth is tender, try brushing more gently. But, don’t stop brushing.
  • You could also try adding a mouth rinse to your hygiene routine for one to two weeks. Consider an antimicrobial rinse, or a warm saline rinse.

How Much Does Dental Scaling Cost?

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