Scaling and Root Planing

Some patients require more than routine preventative cleanings due to the presence of hardened tartar below the gum line. Scaling and root planing, or deep cleanings remove this tartar and help to reverse gum disease, preventing bone loss around the teeth and eventual tooth loss.

Signs of gum disease:

  • Bleeding when brushing and flossing
  • Foul breath that doesn't go away after brushing and flossing
  • Swollen gums
  • Spaces between your teeth and gums that trap food particles

What to Expect

After completing a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth and obtaining a full set of dental radiographs, we will measure the depth of your gum pockets to assess the degree of gum disease present. We will discuss our findings and let you know if a deep cleaning is indicated in your case. We typically break up the process into two visits, working on one side of the mouth at a time. Since a deep cleaning removes bacteria and tartar below the gumline, we generally administer local anesthesia to keep you comfortable for the procedure. Once anesthesia is confirmed, we will use a combination of ultrasonic and manual scalers to remove harmful buildup. This process typically takes about 60 minutes per side. We may also prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash to use after your visit to help facilitate gum healing. We will also review various home care tools that will work best in your mouth to help keep bacteria at bay between visits. After 6 weeks, we will ask you to return for a short followup visit, where we will remeasure your gums and confirm healing. Once gum disease has been diagnosed, it is recommended to have maintenance cleanings every three to four months to prevent its recurrence.

Post Operative Instructions

To minimize the discomfort and encourage proper healing following your scaling and root planing, follow these instructions:

After the procedure, take aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or ibuprofen (Advil®) before the anesthetic wears off. Continue to take one tablet every four hours for the next two days.

A saltwater solution (1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon soda + 8 ounces warm water) swished in your mouth for 2 to 3 minutes every hour may make your mouth more comfortable.

Use a soft toothbrush at least two times a day. Be gentle and clean thoroughly. Slight bleeding may occur while brushing as the tissues begin to heal.

Avoid strong spicy seasonings, and hard crunchy for the next few days.

Smoking should be stopped. Success of the treatment will be substantially reduced by the cigarette smoke chemicals in your body.

As the tissues heal, some temporary sensitivity to cold may occur. Use a desensitizing toothpaste (such as Sensodyne®), or fluoride gel (such as Prevident® or Gel-Kam®) frequently (at least 4 times/day) for 1 to 2 weeks. Also, the cleaner the teeth are kept, the less sensitive they will be.

Faithfully use any other oral hygiene aids that have been recommended (floss, Perio-Aid®, rubber tip, Sonicare®, Proxabrush®, Gel-Kam® fluoride, Peridex® mouthrinse, etc).

Please contact us if discomfort is not diminishing day by day, or if swelling increases or continues beyond 3 or 4 days.

Office Hours

Monday
7:45 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
7:45 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
7:45 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
7:45 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
7:45 AM - 4:30 PM

Contact Us

5530 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 1535
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

(240) 465-9066

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