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The purpose of scaling and root planing is to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and below the gum line, and to smooth the teeth and root surfaces. This procedure also involves the removal of bacteria and their toxic byproducts associated with plaque and calculus.


Post Treatment Expectations

Discomfort: Patient discomfort subsides in a few hours to a few days following the procedure. Discomfort immediately after treatment usually involves slight throbbing or aching.

Tooth Sensitivity: The patient’s teeth may be sensitive to temperature changes and/or sweets after treatment. The sensitivity to temperature may be intense but will diminish quickly. Any sensitivity with brushing and flossing should resolve in a few days.

Bleeding: Slight bleeding may occur during the next several brushings, but the bleeding should steadily decrease.

Appearance: Root surfaces of treated teeth may be more exposed as the swelling of the inflamed gum tissue resolves. This may result in more noticeable spacing between teeth.


Instructions to Minimize Symptoms

1. Gentle but thorough plaque removal 2-3 times daily with toothbrush (manual or mechanical), dental floss, and/or other health care instruments recommended by the dental team.

2. Rinsing with warm salt water (stir 1/4 teaspoon thoroughly into 1 cup of warm water) as needed for one to two weeks.

3. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce discomfort (Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen).

4. Chlorhexidine mouth rinse may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation and bleeding. Instructions for use: rinse 15 mL of mouth wash twice a day for 30 seconds. Or, dip toothbrush into mouth wash and brush onto the patient’s gums twice daily after brushing teeth.

5. Desensitizing products will help reduce sensitivity to hot, cold and sometimes sweets. (This includes prescription fluoride toothpastes, Fluoride rinses and Sensodyne toothpaste).

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.