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Scaling and Root Planing After Care Instructions


What do I need to know after scaling and root planing?  

Care of the Mouth: All areas should be brushed and flossed as usual as long as they do not cause you discomfort.  You may find rinsing with warm salt water is soothing (1/4 tsp. salt in 1 glass of warm water). Do not use any alcohol-containing mouth rinses.

Discomfort: You can expect little to no discomfort in your gums.  Discomfort will vary according to the extent of your periodontal infection. The best method to maintain comfort is to take 600-800mg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours; do not wait until it hurts.  Discomfort is made worse by smoking and poor diet.

Tooth Sensitivity: On occasion, some patients may have increased sensitivity to temperature or sweets.  If this happens to you, please let us know at your next visit.  It usually resolves by itself, but there are some medications that can be applied to the tooth that can help reduce sensitivity.

Fever and Chills:  On rare occasion, some patients develop a low-grade (100 degree F or less) fever and chills in the first 24 hours after scaling and root planing.  If this happens, take Tylenol and drink plenty of fluids to reduce the fever.  

Jaw Muscle Discomfort:  On rare occasion, some patients can have an earache, headache, and/or discomfort in the jaw muscles after dental treatment.  This happens more often in patients who grind or clench their teeth.  Ibuprofen should help, but if it doesn't let us know at your next visit.

Antibiotics: If you were prescribed antibiotics, please take as directed until all are gone:

  • For women who are pregnant or who could be pregnant, do not take any medications without consulting your physician.  Birth control pills may not work effectively when you take certain antibiotics.  To be safe, use an alternative contraceptive method when taking antibiotics and for 2 weeks afterward.
  • Side effects: On occasion, some people have unfavorable reactions to antibiotics such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, itching, rash, hives, difficulty breathing or other side effects.  If this should happen to you, STOP taking your medications and go to the emergency room, if needed.

Bleeding:  A slight amount of bleeding for several hours following is common.  If you take a nap, cover your pillow with a towel.  If the bleeding persists, please call.

Smoking: Smoking can dramatically affect healing and cause premature loss of teeth.

Post surgery diet suggestions: Have only cool to warm liquids (not hot) to drink after your surgery until the numbness has worn off.  This is to prevent you from burning your lips, cheeks, or tongue.

Do not eat until the numbness has worn off.  This is to prevent you from biting your lips, cheeks or tongue.


     - Eggs (scrambled, soft boiled or poached)

     - Yogurt (avoid seeds)

     - Cottage cheese

     - Creamy soups

     - Mashed potatoes and gravy

     - Hot cereals

     - Applesauce

     - Ice cream

     - Jello

     - Pudding

     - Custard

     - Milk shakes (DO NOT JUST EAT SWEETS)


     - Spaghetti

     - Macaroni and cheese

     - Ravioli

     - Soups with chunks of meat and vegetables

     - Egg salad

     - Tuna salad

     - Ground meat


     - Popcorn

     - All nuts

     - All seeds

     - Chips (taco, tortilla, potato, etc.)

     - Granola

     - Any hard or crunchy foods



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