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Scaling and Root Planing

The dental prophylaxis just completed has been preventive in nature due to your thorough oral self-care. That means that there was no gum disease evident. The prophylaxis was completed quickly and with the minimum of trauma to your teeth and soft tissues. In this event, you should have insignificant postoperative discomfort in your mouth. Congratulations on a job well done. Keep up the good work. We would rather assist you in preventing periodontal disease than in curing the problems periodontal disease can cause.

A therapeutic prophylaxis has been completed. In this case, the gingival (gum) tissue showed signs of infection and inflammation and you may have had significant calculus (tartar) buildup. You may notice that your teeth feel different where the calculus was removed. The soft tissues may be sensitive or sore for approximately one day as they begin to heal. You may find that taking an over-the-counter pain reliever (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) will help during this 24-hour period. You may also rinse your mouth every few hours with warm salt water. Make sure that you brush and floss your teeth during this time period as you have been instructed. Be gentle, because the brushed areas may be sore, but be thorough! You do not want to have the periodontal infection begin again.

When you have had scaling and root planing, or other more involved periodontal procedures, you can expect your gingival (gum) tissues to be quite sore. This is normal when the gum tissues have been infected and inflamed for some time. The more severely they have been affected, the more discomfort you can expect. This soreness should go away very quickly. You may rinse with warm salt water every few hours until the soreness is gone.

You may also notice that the teeth have become sensitive to temperature changes after the scaling and root planing. This sensation frequently occurs when the surfaces of the roots of your teeth have been cleaned. Removal of the debris covering the roots and attached to the roots leaves the roots open to temperature stimulus. If the problem persists, please let us know.

When you examine your gums closely in a mirror, you will also observe that the color, texture, and position of your periodontal tissues will undergo a change as the healing takes place. The swollen, reddened gum tissue will shrink, become more firm, and return to a healthy pink color. Watch for these welcome signs of improvement and be encouraged by the healing process.

Please do not forget to brush, floss, and use other periodontal cleaning aids as you have been taught. It is important that you begin establishing proper oral self-care habits immediately. If you find that the recently treated areas are sensitive to the brushing and flossing, be gentle, but be thorough! With proper technique you cannot damage the teeth or gingival tissues.

Brush after every meal with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Rinse with a fluoride-containing mouth rinse once each day.

Use the oral irrigator with the periodontal attachment as instructed.

Use the periodontal cleaning aids as you have been shown.

Please return for your follow-up appointment. During this time, your periodontal tissues will be evaluated for the expected improvement and effectiveness of your oral self-care and to determine the possible necessity of further periodontal treatment. This appointment will include re-probing the periodontal tissues.

Because of your periodontal condition, we strongly recommend that you return for your next examination and preventive prophylaxis appointment.

If you have any questions about these instructions, please feel free to ask us.

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