Reviewed by Dr. Gary Morris, DDS

If you are among the millions of Americans dealing with gum disease, scaling and root planing can help restore gum health and prevent further damage. Our previous blog, “Scaling and Root Planing Procedure: What Patients Can Expect,” discussed the steps involved in this dental deep cleaning procedure.

The procedure is just the first step in the process. It’s also important to take care of yourself after the procedure for healing and long-term success. 

In the next blog in this series, we will discuss the aftercare and recovery process for scaling and root planing. We’ll also share tips on how to maintain healthy gums and prevent gum disease from returning.

Key Takeaway

If you’ve recently had scaling and root planing treatment, taking good care of your gums is essential so they can heal properly and stay healthy. To help with your recovery, you can rinse with warm salt water, brush gently, use a water flosser, eat soft foods, and avoid intense physical activity. Keep up with your oral care routine, and talk to your dentist if you have any questions or concerns.

5 Aftercare Tips for Scaling and Root Planing

We know that recovering from dental procedures can be a challenge. Your dentist will provide aftercare instructions, which you should follow diligently for the best results. To make the healing process easier, here are 5 aftercare tips: 

1. Rinse with salt water

Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to help remove bacteria from your mouth and promote healing. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Gently swish it around your mouth, then spit it out. Do this a few times a day, especially after meals.

2. Be gentle when brushing

Your gum tissue will be sensitive after the procedure. Take extra care when brushing your teeth after the procedure. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid brushing too vigorously. Be gentle around the treated areas to prevent irritation or discomfort.

3. Use a water flosser

Traditional flossing will feel too harsh initially. Instead, a water flosser can be a gentler alternative to clean between your teeth. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, which can cause discomfort.

4. Eat soft foods

Wait to eat until the local anesthesia wears off completely. You could inadvertently bite your cheek or tongue, causing irritation or discomfort.

Your gums will be tender, and you may experience tooth sensitivity for the first few days. Stick to soft foods like soups, smoothies, mashed potatoes, and yogurt. Avoid hard, sticky, or spicy foods that could irritate your mouth and cause discomfort.

5. Avoid intense physical activity

It’s best to avoid strenuous physical activity for at least 24 hours after the procedure. This allows your body to focus on healing and prevent any bleeding or discomfort caused by increased blood flow.

Your dentist may recommend a follow-up appointment after the procedure to monitor your healing progress and ensure that your gum health is improving. Contact your dentist for advice if you have any concerns or discomfort after the procedure.

How To Manage Pain and Discomfort

It’s normal to experience some discomfort after scaling and root planing. To manage pain and discomfort, consider these effective strategies:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers can effectively alleviate pain. Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your healthcare provider for safety and effectiveness.
  • You can use a reusable ice bag or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a soft towel to reduce facial swelling. Apply it to the affected area for 20 minutes, then remove it for 20 minutes. This method is beneficial during the first 24-48 hours post-surgery.
  • Elevate your head above your heart level to help reduce swelling. This is especially important at night and in the days immediately following your procedure. Avoid lying on the surgery side to minimize pressure on the affected area.
  • You can apply moist heat to the affected area two days after your surgery to alleviate minor swelling. A warm, damp cloth can be effective for this purpose.

It’s important to note that while some swelling is normal, major swelling should be reported to your dentist immediately. Keep an eye on your recovery progress and seek advice if you notice anything concerning.

Slow Down Gum Disease

If you’ve had scaling and root planing done to manage gum disease, that’s a great start! But you can take some other simple steps to keep your gums healthy and prevent the need for future treatments. Here are a few things you can do to keep gum disease at bay:

  1. Maintain oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, and remember to floss daily. This routine helps remove plaque, the leading cause of gum disease, from areas your brush can’t reach.
  2. Regular check-ups: Schedule regular appointments with your dentist for professional cleanings and examinations. These visits help to catch and address gum disease in its early stages.
  3. Eat a balanced diet: A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can boost your immune system and help your body fight infections, including gum disease. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks that can contribute to plaque formation.
  4. Manage stress: High stress can affect your body’s immune response, making fighting infections like gum disease harder. Find stress-reduction techniques that work for you, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies.
  5. Quit smoking: Smoking is strongly associated with the onset and progression of gum disease. To lower the chance of severe gum disease and improve overall oral health, stop smoking and using tobacco products.

Your Buffalo Grove Dentist: Morris Dental Solutions

Scaling and root planing is a powerful procedure in the fight against periodontal disease, but its success also depends on proper aftercare.

At Morris Dental Solutions, we are committed to helping our patients achieve and maintain healthy gums and overall oral health. Our team of experienced professionals provides comprehensive dental services, including scaling and root planing, for the residents of Buffalo Grove, IL and surrounding areas.

If you are searching for a ‘dentist in Buffalo Grove, IL’ or a ‘top-rated prosthodontist near me,’ we are here to help! Call (847) 215-1511 or complete the online booking form to schedule an appointment.

Keep an eye out for the final blog in this series: Long-Term Oral Health Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing, where we will discuss the long-term oral health benefits of scaling and root planing! In the meantime, check out our blog for more information on the many dental services we offer.

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