What to Expect Before, During, and After Your Deep Cleaning

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If you have been recently told that you have gum disease, then it’s likely that the dental team is recommending a dental deep cleaning. This treatment can help to alleviate the symptoms and prevent the infection from getting worse. As a patient, you probably have questions about the deep cleaning, such as what you should expect from dental scaling and root planing before and after.

What is a Scaling and Root Planing Procedure?

When you go to the dentist for a regular checkup and cleaning, the hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth. But, if there is buildup under the gum line and it is causing pockets of gum infection, then you will need to come back to the dental office for a deeper cleaning appointment.

This appointment is essential to stop the progression of gum disease. Scaling & root planing involve removing the plaque and tarter that is below the gum line, which promotes conditions for the gums to hopefully reattach. Also, this deep cleaning helps you avoid more serious complications in the future. Keep in mind that untreated gum disease can lead to severe consequences, including infection that spreads to other parts of the body and possible tooth loss.

Rest assured knowing that when you compare scaling and root planing before and after, this treatment will help you achieve the healthier smile that you deserve. It is a common and safe procedure, offering great results – especially if you are proactive about gum care and oral health to maintain the benefits of this treatment.

Before a Dental Deep Cleaning

If you are having problems with gum inflammation and bleeding, then it likely means that an infection needs to be treated. In the beginning, the dentist will complete a thorough examination to determine the severity of your periodontal disease. Special tools can be used to measure the “pockets of infection,” which are areas where the gums have started to pull away because of the bacteria in the infection.

In addition to periodontal charting, the dental team can also use digital imaging to see the exact location of the pockets of infection. Understanding the depths is important to ensure a thorough and effective deep cleaning treatment.

If you have any questions about scaling and root planing before and after, then this initial consultation is a great time to talk to our team. We are happy to answer your questions and provide information so you feel comfortable and relaxed about the appointment. If you have any medical conditions or history that needs to be shared, then this is the perfect opportunity to discuss.

During a Dental Deep Cleaning Appointment

Keep in mind that scaling and root planing can be uncomfortable, because the hygienist will be using tools to reach below the gumline. Scaling removes the buildup, and root planing smooths the surface of the root so the gums can reattach.

Sometimes, local anesthesia can be used to numb the gums. This way you will feel comfortable throughout the appointment. There are times when patients with severe anxiety or mental disabilities might request other sedation options, such as laughing gas.

Tools that are used during the treatment include hand scalers, which are scraped against the teeth to pull away the buildup. Additionally, ultrasonic scalers are a modern tool that can effectively help with plaque and tartar removal as well.

After Scaling and Root Planing

You might experience a bit of discomfort during the scaling and root planing appointment. Most patients also have discomfort for a day or two after the appointment. Initially, you will likely have tooth sensitivity as well as sore gums. It takes time for the gums to heal.

You can use over-the-counter medications to alleviate your pain. Be careful to protect the treatment area during your recovery time. For example, you should still be brushing your teeth, but make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush and be careful about how you are cleaning around the treatment area.

During this time, it’s a good idea to avoid any foods that might irritate the healing gums. For example, don’t eat anything too acidic or spicy. You’ll find that it is more comfortable to stick with soft foods during recovery.

Follow-Up Appointments

Some patients need to come back to the office for follow-up appointments. We want to make sure that the gum disease is going away. If there are any symptoms of progression, then we will determine if additional treatments are needed.

Patients with periodontal disease might need to have a few extra checkups during the year. For example, most patients come to our office twice a year for an exam and cleaning. If you are treating gum disease, then it might be recommended that you come every 3 months (4 times a year) until the symptoms are gone.

Also, remember that it’s important to be proactive about brushing and flossing to maintain good dental health. These oral hygiene habits help to reduce the risk of plaque and tartar buildup, which decreases the likelihood that you will need to have scaling and root planing again in the future.


  1. Is scaling and root planing painful?

Yes, this treatment can cause a bit of discomfort. Local anesthetic can be used if want to minimize your pain and discomfort during the treatment. Soreness is usually mild after the appointment.

  1. How long is the appointment for a dental deep cleaning?

It depends on the severity of your gum disease. Most deep cleaning appointments can be done in about an hour. If multiple areas of the mouth are involved, you might need to come for several appointments.

  1. Will my insurance pay for scaling and root planing?

Most dental insurance plans pay for scaling and root planing, because it is considered medically necessary. You’ll need to check with your insurance provider for more information about how much of the treatment they will cover.

What questions do you have about scaling and root planing before and after? For more information and details about this treatment, contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas.