Scaling and Root Planing FAQs and Post-Op Care

What is scaling and root planing, and why is it necessary? 

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure designed to treat periodontal disease. Its primary goal is to eliminate bacterial plaque and tartar buildup from around teeth and beneath the gum line, which can lead to bone loss. By thoroughly cleaning teeth and roots, this treatment promotes the healing of inflammation and infection responsible for gum disease, resulting in cleaner, healthier oral structures.

How can I manage discomfort after scaling and root planing? 

If you experience tenderness or discomfort, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can provide relief. However, please consult Dr. Chad Latino if you have any medical conditions or allergies before taking these medications.


What dietary precautions should I take after the procedure? 

For the two hours following scaling and root planing, avoid consuming food in the treated area or until the anesthetic has completely worn off to prevent accidental cheek, tongue, or lip injuries. Steer clear of hard foods such as tortilla chips, potato chips, popcorn, or seeds for several days.


How can I soothe the treated area and maintain gum health at home? 

To alleviate discomfort and promote healing, rinse your mouth 2-3 times daily with warm salt water. If you’ve been prescribed Peridex/Chlorhexidine, use it as directed. Resume your home care routine, including brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and daily flossing with gentle care around the recently treated area. If recommended, a WaterPik can be used as part of your oral care routine.


What can I do about tooth sensitivity after scaling and root planing? 

It’s normal for teeth to become more sensitive to temperature and sweets as gum tissue heals and reduces in size. This sensitivity should gradually diminish over a few weeks with proper home care. Consider brushing with sensitivity toothpaste or using fluoride rinses, avoiding toothpaste labeled as “whitening” or containing baking soda, as these can exacerbate sensitivity. If the issue persists or worsens, professional application of a desensitizing agent may be necessary.


Why should I refrain from smoking after the procedure, and for how long? 

Smoking should be avoided for 24 to 48 hours after scaling and root planing, as tobacco use can delay the healing of gum tissues. We highly recommend smoking cessation for improved oral and overall health.


What improvements can I expect after scaling and root planing? 

Following the procedure, you should notice reduced redness, less bleeding, and decreased swelling in your gum tissues. Your teeth will feel smoother, and your mouth will taste and feel better overall. 


We look forward to your regular periodontal maintenance visits in Waco, TX, to maintain the progress we’ve achieved together.

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To schedule an Invisalign consultation with Dr. Latino, please call us today at (254) 615-3084.