An older woman smiles outside

What to Expect After Scaling & Root Planing?

Team Periodontics

Scaling and root planing is a minor dental procedure that is also called a “deep cleaning.” During this procedure, the dentist removes plaque and tartar buildup that has accumulated in a pocket between the gums and the teeth. The deep cleaning helps stop tooth decay and can save a tooth from needing to be removed soon. 

Scaling and root planing is a safe and effective procedure. However, patients do sometimes have side effects. Learning about the possible side effects can help you prepare for your procedure. It’s also important to know and follow all patient instructions for after-care. 

Does Scaling and Root Planing Hurt?

Before the dentist begins a scaling and root planing procedure, they administer a local anesthetic. Patients feel a quick pinch or sting, then that part of the mouth becomes profoundly numb. This allows the dentist to complete the deep cleaning without any pain. 

Some patients experience a dull, sore pain in the hours following a scaling and root planing procedure. Usually, this pain is gone in just a few hours. Even in patients with the most severe cases or sensitive gums, there should be no pain after a few days. You should be able to manage the pain with over-the-counter medications, just as acetaminophen.

If you experience a sharp or extreme pain after your scaling and root planing, call your dentist right away. This is rare, and is not typically a side effect of the procedure itself. Instead, it could be a sign that something else is wrong with the teeth and needs to be addressed. 

Other Side Effects of Deep Cleaning

Tooth sensitivity is the most commonly reported side effect of scaling and root planing. For a few hours or days after the procedure, patients may notice that their teeth are sensitive to foods and drinks that are particularly hot or cold. Some people notice the same sensitivity with sweet foods. Toothpaste that is made for sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne, can help.

Some people also notice light gum bleeding after a scaling and root planing. The gums may also appear to have a different shape, but they will shrink and go back into place as they heal. 

Caring for Your Teeth After Scaling and Root Planing

To keep your teeth clean and healthy, it’s essential to follow your dentist’s instructions after a scaling and root planing. These instructions may include:

  • Eating soft foods for a day or so to minimize pain
  • Brush lightly for about a week
  • After a week, practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily and flossing daily

The most important thing is to go over your personalized after-care instructions with your dental care team. Feel free to ask any questions you may have, and make sure you know how to call if you have any questions when you get home.

Deep Cleaning in Aurora, OH

The team at Aurora Dental is proud to provide safe and effective care in an environment that is comfortable and relaxing. We treat each of our patients like a member of our family. That’s why we place emphasis on patient education. We want your smile to shine for years to come. 
If you’re ready for a calming dental experience, contact us to book your appointment. We will be happy to serve you and make sure you know what to expect along the way.