Post-op instructionsScaling and root planing

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Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment for periodontal disease. The purpose of the treatment is to remove bacterial plaque and tartar from around the teeth and under the gum line, which is causing bone loss. The goal is to produce clean, healthy teeth and roots, which will promote healing of the inflammation and infection that causes gum disease.

  • You may take an over-the-counter pain reliever for any tenderness or discomfort. Take ibuprofen (Adviltm/Motrintm) or acetaminophen (Tylenoltm) unless you have medical conditions or allergies.
  • After scaling and root planing, avoid eating anything on the area being treated for two hours or until the anesthetic has worn off completely. It is easy to bite or burn your cheek, tongue or lip while numb.
  • Avoid any hard foods such as tortilla chips, potato chips, popcorn, or nuts for the next couple of days.
  • To help soothe the area, rinse your mouth 2-3 times a day with warm salt water. If you are prescribed Peridex/Chlorhexidine, use as directed.
  • Resume your home care regimen of brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and daily flossing immediately, but be gentle in the area recently treated. Your gum health must be maintained with proper home care, as instructed, and regular dental visits.
  • It is not unusual for the teeth to be more sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, and/or sweets. This is normal. This occurs as the gum tissue heals and shrinks in size, and should gradually resolve in a few weeks with proper home care. Consistently brushing two to three times daily with sensitivity toothpaste or using fluoride rinses may alleviate this over time. Avoid toothpastes with “whitening” properties or baking soda, as this will contribute to the problem. If sensitivity continues or is severe, professional application of a desensitizing agent may be required.
  • Refrain from smoking for 24 to 48 hours after scaling and root planing as tobacco will delay healing of the tissues. It is highly recommended to quit smoking.
  • You can expect to notice less redness, less bleeding, and less swelling of your gum tissues. Your teeth may feel smoother and your mouth will taste and feel better. We will look forward to seeing you for your regular periodontal maintenance to keep up with what we just accomplished together.
  • If you have persistent discomfort or swelling that occurs after your appointment, contact the office for instructions as soon as possible.

Following these instructions very closely will greatly help your comfort, and promote uneventful healing of the area. If any of the instructions are not followed, you might have significantly more discomfort, and the success of the procedure may be affected.