Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, and periodontitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth. Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. If left untreated, advanced gum disease can lead to dental abscesses and tooth loss.
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment that is commonly used to treat gingivitis and mild to moderate periodontitis. The procedure removes plaque and calculus (tartar) from the teeth and roots to eliminate bacteria that cause infection.
Following your dentist’s instructions for post-operative care is crucial to avoid discomfort and complications.
Avoid Eating for Two Hours
For the first two hours after your procedure, avoid eating anything. You may have residual numbness from the local anesthesia and could accidentally bite your lip or cheek. You should also avoid hot beverages because they can burn your mouth.
Do Not Eat Hard Foods for 72 Hours
For the first 72 hours, avoid hard foods like nuts, seeds, crackers, and chips because they can become stuck in your gums and cause additional inflammation. Instead, stick to softer foods like blended soups, yogurt, smoothies, and vegetable mashes.
It is also essential to avoid alcohol and tobacco use while you are healing. These substances can irritate the gums and slow the healing process.
Rinse with a Salt Water Solution
Rinse with a warm salt water solution three times a day to reduce pain and swelling. You can make a saline solution using one teaspoon of table salt mixed with one cup of warm water.
After eating and brushing, gently swish the solution around your mouth for 30 seconds. This helps remove bacteria or food particles that could lead to infection. The solution also promotes healing and reduces inflammation.
Take OTC MedicationsAlthough the scaling and root planing procedure is not painful, you may experience minor tenderness or discomfort after treatment. To manage pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol as needed.
You can also use an ice pack to reduce swelling. Apply the ice pack to your face for 15 – 20 minutes on and off.
Brush with Desensitizing Toothpaste
Scaling and root planing can involve removing a minute amount of enamel from your teeth, sometimes leaving your teeth feeling sensitive. If this is the case, you can brush with a desensitizing toothpaste to help alleviate the discomfort.
This toothpaste forms a barrier over exposed tooth surfaces to block nerve stimulation and reduce sensitivity. Desensitizing toothpaste contains fluoride, which remineralizes tooth enamel for long-term protection.
Be Gentle When Flossing
While it is crucial to maintain a thorough oral hygiene routine, vigorous flossing can irritate and inflame your gums. Avoid snapping the floss against your gums; if you are concerned about harming the area, you can use a Waterpik. This device uses a stream of water to remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth and can be gentler on sensitive areas.
Get Healthy Gums with Blue Island Smiles
By following the dentist’s post-operative instructions, you can ensure that your teeth remain healthy and plaque-free. If you have questions or concerns about the procedure, contact Blue Island Smiles to arrange a consultation.
If you have active gum disease and need a scaling and root planing procedure, schedule an appointment with Blue Island Smiles.