Scaling & Root Planing Post-Op Instructions

Instructions Following Scaling & Root Planing (SRP):

EATING/DRINKING: Wait to eat/drink anything until anesthesia wears off to avoid accidently biting your lip, tongue, or cheeks.  After anesthesia has worn off, you may eat what is comfortable but may want to chew mainly on the untreated side for the first day.  We recommend that you avoid hard & crunchy foods for at least 48 hours.

SORENESS: There is possibility of soreness with your gums after the anesthesia wears off because we have accessed deep areas of your gums that are infected. You also may feel some soreness/discomfort at injection sites if you received local anesthesia. The soreness is typically mild and temporary.  Most discomfort can be resolved by taking ibuprofen for pain/discomfort for the first 12-72 hours.  If you cannot take ibuprofen, you may take any over the counter pain medication that you take for a headache or backache.

HEALING: Warm saltwater rinses can assist with healing and soothing your gums.  Mix: ½ tsp table salt or sea salt into 6-8oz of water.  Rinse for 30 seconds 2-3x per day. *Do not exceed amounts of salt or times per day as it can cause gum dryness and redness.  Even if your gums feel fine after the procedure, please rinse with salt water to encourage faster healing.

SMOKING: We encourage no smoking for a couple of days because it can hinder healing.  To get the best results, now is the best time to consider quitting smoking because it is one of the strongest risk factors for your gum disease.

BLEEDING: While you may see some slight bleeding over the next few days during brushings, your gums will start to improve because of today’s procedure and bleeding will decrease as your gums heal because the harmful bacteria is gone. If you had a lot of bleeding during your procedure, we may give you a sample of a toothpaste to help reduce bleeding.  

SENSITIVITY: You may notice that you can see more of your tooth & root surfaces as the inflammation starts to go down, which is a sign of healing.  However, there may be a possibility of heightened sensitivity to temperature and/or sweets after SRP.  This sensitivity is typically mild and temporary.  But we may dispense products like Sensodyne to help reduce it. Sometimes, depending on the level of sensitivity, your hygienist may instruct you to just to rub the paste lightly on affected area and to not rinse before bedtime.  Additionally, OTC fluoride rinses like ACT can be used to help reduce sensitivity.  If in rare cases sensitivity is prolonged or more severe, we may prescribe a prescription sensitivity toothpaste.  

ORAL HYGIENE INSTRUCTION: Although you may want to brush gently for next couple of days, it is important that you do not avoid the treated areas because brushing removes harmful bacteria. Good homecare is essential for minimizing bacterial load to get the best results.  Today, your hygienist will customize a homecare routine and introduce you to dental tools that will be best for your mouth.


Occasionally, you may be prescribed antibiotics or antimicrobial rinses that will help to reduce your active gum infection and encourage healing.  It is important to fill your prescription, use as directed, and finish the dose.