The deep scaling and root planing procedure is a type of deep cleaning for your teeth. It is performed to remove all of the calculus (tartar) and plaque deposits found on teeth below the gum line.
Dr. Dale Brant of Ingenious Dentistry notes, “It is much more than a cleaning. A simple cleaning only involves the area above the gum line. Scaling and root planning is a comprehensive cleaning of the tooth and root surface below the gum line.”
Following the deep cleaning, instruments are used to plane or smooth out all of the root surfaces. These techniques help the gums reattach to the roots of teeth and to reduce long-term gum issues like bleeding and inflammation.
As with most medical procedures, it’s important to note that there may be some symptoms immediately following scaling and root planing. It’s important to anticipate these symptoms and to know how to maintain your gums post-procedure.
As Dr. Brant says, “There may be some mild discomfort that can be taken care of by over-the-counter medications, such as Advil or Tylenol.”
Here as some common symptoms that patients experience.
- Tooth Sensitivity. You may feel a new sensitivity to temperature changes and/or sweet food and drinks. The sensitivity to temperature may be particularly acute for the first two or three days following treatment. In some situations, it may take a few weeks before all sensitivity disappears
- Bleeding. This temporary sensitivity will extend to your gums and you might experience some slight bleeding during brushing immediately following the procedure. This bleeding should decrease and then ultimately cease within three days.
- Discomfort and Pain. Many patients ask us if scaling and root planing is painful and the answer is that there can be discomfort. The procedure does sometimes require the use of a local anesthetic. If so, it’s important to avoid chewing any foods or gum until full feeling returns to avoid injuring your numbed tongue and cheeks. Until you have fully feeling, avoid eating any sticky, hard, brittle, spicy, or acidic foods.
Homecare Tips to Reduce Symptoms and Hasten Healing
Dr. Brant notes that following the procedure, “The hygienist will go over proper home care with the patient.” Instructions may include:
- Rinse Regularly. Use either an antimicrobial mouthwash or a warm saline rinse 2 to 3 times a day for the first week following treatment. Once you have returned to normal, use of such rinses should be limited to once a week.
- Use a Desensitizing Toothpaste. Extreme tooth sensitivity may tempt you to ignore your regular brushing habits. This can bring on other tooth and gum issues. You can keep the good habits without the pain by using a special desensitizing toothpaste containing potassium nitrate.
- Rethink Your Diet. Implement a diet of softer foods, such as steamed vegetables and soups, until all the above symptoms cease.
Dr. Brant says, “Scaling and root planing provide deep cleaning for teeth and can ensure that the gums supporting the teeth are clean and healthy. At Ingenious Dentistry, we will examine your teeth and gums to determine if you have gum disease and if scaling and root planning is a proper treatment for you.”