Post-Op Instructions Following Scaling and Root Planing

Following scaling and root planing, you can expect to notice less redness, less bleeding and less swelling of your gum tissue.  The health of your gums can then be maintained with proper home care and regular professional care.


  • Discomfort or pain should not be acute and should subside in a few hours, definitely within 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.


  • Teeth may be sensitive to temperature changes and/or sweets.  The sensitivity to temperature may be noticeable the first several days and usually diminishes quickly.  Application of a desensitizing fluoride may be recommended.


  • Some slight bleeding may occur during the next several brushings, but the bleeding should steadily decrease.


  • As the gums heal they may change their shape around the teeth.  This is normal as they tighten.



  • If extensive root planing 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 a softer consistency would be advised until chewing becomes more comfortable.


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


  • If gum tissues are tender, brush your teeth gently but thoroughly.  This may take a little more time than normal.  By the third or fourth day, normal hygiene techniques may be resumed.  Mouth rinsing is recommended with either of the following solutions: 1) an antimicrobial rinse, or 2) a warm salt-water rinse.  Use of either of these rinses should be limited to one to two consecutive weeks.

If symptoms are severe or persistent, please call our office immediately.