Patient Instructions Following Scaling and Root Planning

Your treatment today included Scaling and Root Planning (deep cleaning). As a result of the therapy you may notice:

  • that your gums will be tender for the next few days.
  • mild soreness at the injection site for the next 24-48 hours if you received local anesthetic.
  • slight aching and throbbing in the area
  • some slight bleeding in the area
  • that your teeth may be sensitive to chewing pressures
  • that your teeth may be sensitive to temperature changes and/or sweets
  • spaces between your teeth where calculus used to be.

The discomfort you experience should not be severe or sharp and will subside in a few hours to a few days. Patients typically remark that by the 3rd day from treatment any discomfort is gone.


To reduce the symptoms

  • Use a rinse of salt and warm water Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass with 8 ounces of warm water. With each mouthful of the rinse, hold the solution next to the tender area and then try to force the solution between the teeth. DO NOT SWALLOW the salt water. The warm salt water is soothing to the tissues and will help to reduce swelling in the area. You may repeat the rinse procedure as often as you like.
  • Take an over-the-counter medication. It is most beneficial if you take an over-the-counter medication that is designed to reduce everyday aches and pain and reduce swelling (inflammation) such as a product containing ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin) or naproxen (Aleve). HOWEVER, DO NOT TAKE AN IBUPROFEN PRODUCT IF YOU HAVE AN ALLERGY/ SENSITIVITY TO ASPIRIN. If you cannot tolerate ibuprofen, then a product containing acetaminophen (Tylenol) is recommended. When you take an over-the-counter product be sure and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can develop a sensitivity to a medication even if you have been taking it regularly for years. So if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, seek medical help right away.

Toothbrushing and Flossing

  • Brush and floss after every meal.
  • Even though your gum tissues may be tender, it is important that you break-up the dental biofilm (plaque) regularly. You will find toothbrushing to be more tolerable if you soften your toothbrush bristles which can be done by holding them under hot tap water.


  • Use the rinse you received twice daily (after breakfast and before bed), until gone. Swish for one minute then spit.


  • If local anesthetic was used to make the area numb, avoiding chewing foods or drinking hot beverages until the feeling returns. Be careful not to chew on your tongue, cheek, or lips.
  • A diet of softer foods may be more comfortable if your teeth are sensitive.

If bleeding persists, swelling appears, or pain increases in intensity:

These symptoms are not normal and you need to call our office, Pflugerville Family Dentistry, at (512) 252-4746 during business hours. If the office is closed, our emergency line is (512)915-4453.