Scaling and root planing, also known as deep cleaning, is a common procedure performed by dentists to treat gum disease. This treatment involves removing plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the teeth and the pockets between the teeth and gums. Despite being a non-surgical procedure, it is essential to follow post-operative instructions to ensure a smooth recovery and to prevent any complications or infections.
Right after the procedure, it is normal to experience some discomfort, including mild pain, gum swelling and bleeding, and tooth sensitivity. These symptoms usually subside within a few days after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can help manage these symptoms. Avoid taking aspirin, as it can increase bleeding.
It is also advisable to apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce swelling. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a thin cloth to prevent causing frostbite to your skin. Apply the ice pack for 15 minutes at a time, with 15-minute breaks in between.
After scaling and root planing, it is recommended to consume a soft diet for a few days to avoid irritating the gums. Foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and soups are gentle on the gums. Avoid hard, crunchy, and spicy foods as they can cause discomfort and delay the healing process. Also, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, but avoid using a straw as the suction can disrupt the healing process.
Smoking and alcohol should also be avoided after the procedure, as they can delay healing and increase the risk of infection.
Good oral hygiene is crucial after scaling and root planing. Even though your gums may be sensitive, it’s important to continue brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. However, be gentle around the treated areas to avoid causing further irritation.
Flossing should also be continued, but again, be gentle and careful not to force the floss into your gums. An antiseptic mouth rinse may be recommended by your dentist to help reduce bacteria and soothe irritated gums.
Follow-up appointments with your dentist are essential for monitoring your progress and ensuring the treated areas are healing properly. Your dentist may also decide to perform additional cleanings or treatments if necessary. It’s important to maintain regular dental check-ups even after your gums have healed to prevent future gum disease.
When to Seek Medical Attention
While complications from scaling and root planing are rare, it’s important to contact your dentist immediately if you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding, swelling that worsens instead of improving, signs of infection such as pus or fever, and any allergic reaction to the medication used.
In conclusion, proper aftercare following scaling and root planning is crucial in ensuring a successful recovery and in preventing further periodontal issues. It’s important to follow your dentist’s post-operative instructions, maintain good oral hygiene, make necessary dietary changes, and attend follow-up appointments.
Remember, your oral health is an integral part of your overall well-being. Taking good care of your teeth and gums after a deep cleaning procedure not only ensures a smooth recovery but also contributes to your long-term health.
By following these post-operative instructions, you are on your way to a healthier smile.