Over time, if you neglect your brushing and flossing routine, plaque and tartar will form on your teeth. This occurs during the early stages of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, and can cause gum inflammation, bad breath, loose teeth, and much more. To protect the health of your teeth and gums and reduce the likelihood of periodontal disease spreading, your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing. During this nonsurgical treatment, your dentist or dental hygienist will carefully remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Scroll down to learn what you can expect after the procedure.
Side Effects of Scaling and Root Planing
After your mouth has had a little time to heal from a scaling and root planing treatment, you should experience several benefits. First, your gingival tissue (gums) will be less red, swollen, and puffy, and they should bleed less often. In addition, if you suffered from bad breath previously, you may notice that your breath is more pleasant now. Moreover, your mouth should generally feel healthier and taste better. All of these effects are indications that your gum health is improving.
However, before your mouth feels better, you may experience some less pleasant side effects:
It’s normal to experience mild to moderate discomfort following scaling and root planing. Patients typically describe the feeling as a slight ache or throbbing. Although the discomfort typically subsides within a few hours, it lasts up to a few days in some cases. If you experience anything other than mild discomfort after 48 hours, contact your dentist’s office.
Your teeth may be unusually sensitive to temperature changes or sweets following the treatment. Typically this sensitivity is most noticeable in the first several days post-treatment and diminishes after that. Your dental team may offer an application of desensitizing fluoride to reduce tooth sensitivity and discomfort.
The first few times you brush your teeth after the procedure, you may notice some bleeding. This is normal. The bleeding should decrease as your gum tissue responds to the treatment.
As the gum tissue heals, you may notice it changing its shape around the teeth. This occurs due to the decrease of swelling in the tissue. In addition, the gum tissue may become more pink and less red. Both of these physical changes show that your tissue is responding well to the treatment.
Post-Treatment Care Instructions
To minimize your negative side effects as much as possible, follow these instructions after a scaling and root planing procedure:
Following extensive root planing, eating foods that are hard, crunchy, or chewy (such as raw vegetables or meat) may be uncomfortable. Although this discomfort should subside within a few days, until then, your dental team will recommend that you stick with a soft food diet. In addition to avoiding hard and crunchy foods, be sure to avoid spicy foods for at least 24 hours.
If your dentist used a local anesthetic, you should avoid chewing foods until the feeling returns to your mouth to avoid injuring your tongue and cheeks. To reduce discomfort, you can take acetaminophen or non-aspirin analgesic. Still suffering from tooth sensitivity? Use a desensitizing toothpaste containing potassium nitrate. And if the sensitivity is severe or prolonged, contact your dentist’s office. They may recommend the application of a desensitizing agent.
Your gums may feel tender following the treatment, so it’s important to brush your teeth both gently and thoroughly. This will likely take a little more time than usual, so be patient! About three or four days after the procedure, you should be able to brush normally again. In addition, your dentist will likely recommend that you rinse your mouth using either an antimicrobial rinse or a warm salt water rinse. Only use these rinses for one or two consecutive weeks, following the recommendation provided by your dental team.
Although scaling and root planing can improve your gum health and prevent periodontal disease from worsening, it’s important to remember that periodontal disease is an ongoing condition. If you want to eliminate it and prevent it from recurring, you must maintain proper oral care at home as well as professional care at your dentist’s office.
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!