What is scaling and root planing?
A deep cleaning, also called a scaling and root planing procedure, is considered your first line of defense against periodontitis. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, about 64.7 million Americans have periodontitis (gum disease)! That equates to half of Americans, aged 30 and older, with gum disease.
The scaling and root planing procedure serves to deep-clean the teeth, from the crowns to the root surfaces. During a deep cleaning treatment, our periodontists are cleansing and dislodging bacteria and tartar buildup to minimize the pockets between the gums and teeth.
This deep-cleaning treatment is highly effective for reversing the early stages of periodontitis and preventing the spread of this disease, but it can also leave your mouth feeling a bit tender.
How to Relieve Pain After a Deep Teeth Cleaning
We take measures to ensure that your experience is as comfortable as possible! Before the treatment, we administer a local anesthetic to numb the area. Laughing gas can also be administered to help alleviate any nerves.
- To relieve pain after a deep cleaning, you can take pain medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil®, MOTRIN®) or acetaminophen (TYLENOL®).
- Try gargling a warm saltwater solution or rinsing your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash a few times a day to keep the gums clean and to reduce swelling/inflammation.
- Don’t overexert yourself while you’re healing. Allow a few days to relax and rest your mouth.
- Choose soft, nutrient-rich foods over hard, chewy or crunchy foods for at least a week. Hard foods and foods that require a lot of chewing can increase pain and discomfort.
- Use a desensitizing toothpaste to minimize sensitivity and tenderness. Toothpastes that contain potassium nitrite can provide additional relief while you’re healing.
- Ramp up your oral hygiene routine! This is key to preventing bacteria build-up that can cause increased pain and lead to infection. Brush carefully, but thoroughly. Keep your teeth and gums clean, but don’t use too much force.
What to Expect After Deep Cleaning of Teeth
You may notice that your teeth are sensitive for a week or two after cleaning. This is normal! Some subsequent tooth sensitivity just means that the cleaning was thorough.
How long does it take for gums to heal after deep cleaning?
On average, it takes anywhere from 5 to 7 days for the gums to heal after a deep cleaning.
While your mouth is healing, you may experience some bleeding and swelling of the gums. Teeth are likely to be sensitive, as their roots have recently been exposed. Avoiding foods or drinks that are considerably hot, cold or sweet is a good idea throughout the healing process.
We will schedule a follow-up appointment with you so we can assess the size of the pockets between the teeth and gums. We want to ensure that you don’t develop a gum infection after deep cleaning.
Can teeth fall out after deep cleaning?
The purpose of a deep cleaning procedure is to prevent the teeth from falling out due to gum disease. Gum disease is actually the most common cause of tooth loss in adults!
At your follow-up appointment with us, we will assess your condition to ensure that there is no risk of infection. Maintaining proper oral hygiene, brushing and flossing thoroughly after your treatment is crucial to prevent gum infection after deep cleaning.