Scaling and Root Planing After-Care Instructions

Following Scaling and Root Planing, you can expect to notice less redness, and less bleeding, and less swelling of your gum tissue. Your gum health can be maintained with proper home care and regular professional care.


Discomfort or pain should be acute and should subside in a few days. Discomfort immediately after treatment is usually associated with slight throbbing or aching and occasionally may be uncomfortable. This discomfort usually subsides in about four hours. Any discomfort due to brushing should get better in one to three days.

Tooth Sensitivity

Teeth may be sensitive to temperature changes and/or sweets. The sensitivity to temperature may be intense the first two or three days.


Some slight bleeding may occur during the next several brushings but the bleeding should steadily decrease after two or three days.


Root surfaces may be more exposed as the inflammation subsides. This may result in more spaces between teeth.

Instructions to Minimize Symptoms

Diet/Eating—If extensive root planning was performed, chewing hard foods, such as meat or raw vegetables may be uncomfortable; this should last no longer than a few days. A diet of softer consistency would be advised until chewing becomes more comfortable.


If a local anesthetic was used, avoid chewing foods until feeling returns to avoid injury to the tongue or cheeks. Acetaminophen or a non-aspirin analgesic should be taken as needed to reduce discomfort. If tooth sensitivity persists, use a desensitizing dentifrice (toothpaste) containing potassium nitrite. If the sensitivity is severe and prolonged, professional application of a desensitizing agent may be required.

Oral Hygiene

If gum tissues are tender, brush your teeth gently but thoroughly; this may take a little more time than normal. By the third to fourth day, normal oral hygiene techniques can be resumes. Mouth rinsing is recommended with either of the following solutions: (1) an antimicrobial rinse, or (2) a warm saline rinse. Use of these rinsed should be limited to one to two weeks.

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