After Scaling and Root Planing

You are in the process of having a procedure called deep scaling and root planning, or simply root detoxification. Its purpose is to remove all deposits of calculus (tartar) and plaque on the teeth below the gum-line and to methodically plane, or smooth the root surfaces themselves. This entails the removal of a thin layer of cementum covering the roots that has become infected with bacteria and their toxic by-products.

Scaling and root planning helps the gums to reattach to the tooth roots. Oftentimes, this will reduce gingival bleeding, diminish inflammation and cause the crevices or spaces around the teeth to become less deep. This will allow you better access to clean these important areas.

After scaling and root planing is completed, you may experience slight discomfort around the teeth for several days and increased sensitivity to hot and cold (and sometimes sweets) for up to four to six weeks duration. This is a normal course of healing. You should begin to notice a definite improvement in sensitivity within two weeks.

There are several things you can do to help reduce or prevent tooth sensitivity and hasten healing following scaling and root planing. These include:

  1. Thorough plaque removal on a daily basis with a soft or ultra soft toothbrush and dental floss. There are also many excellent mechanical toothbrushes that are now on the market that help aid in plaque removal. (Please ask your hygienist, which would be best for you).
  2. A topical stannous fluoride gel may be prescribed as well to reduce tooth sensitivity- use twice daily.
  3. A desensitizing toothpaste in place of your regular dentifrice for 4 6 weeks after the procedure (e.g. Sensodyne, Protect, etc.)
  4. Your hygienist or doctor may recommend other adjuncts for your individual needs.

The dental staff will be happy to review any home care procedures for you. Please feel free to ask for assistance.

The benefits of scaling and root planing are many. However, this procedure alone is not always sufficient to stop the continued destruction of periodontal disease. Approximately four to six weeks after we complete the initial scaling and root planing, we will re-evaluate your periodontal status. It is at this appointment that we will determine if further treatment (surgery, additional scaling, antibiotics, etc.) is necessary to control the disease process. It may be recommended that a more advanced (periodontal maintenance cleaning), will be required at various intervals depending on your individual dental needs. For best results, it is recommended that you continue your perio maintenance cleaning every three months.

The results of your periodontal therapy depends on several factors:

  1. Adhering to your scheduled treatment plan and follow-up appointments.
  2. Home care compliance.
  3. Personal habits (smoking, poor diet, stress, etc.)