It is normal to experience some discomfort following periodontal therapy. Discomfort or pain should not be acute and should subside in a few hours to a few days. Discomfort immediately after treatment is usually associated with slight throbbing or aching and occasionally may be uncomfortable. It usually subsides in about four hours. Discomfort due to brushing should discontinue in one to three days.

To alleviate pain and reduce swelling, should they be present, after twenty-four hours, rinse three times a day with warm salt water. (put a tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water, gently rinse-swish-spit).

Teeth may be sensitive to temperature changes and/or sweets. The sensitivity to temperature may be intense the first several days and usually diminishes quickly.

Some slight bleeding may occur during the next several brushings, but should steadily decrease over two or three days. If bleeding persists, apply firm pressure with a moist gauze pad or bit on a tea bag, soaked in warm water, for twenty minutes.

Root surfaces may be more exposed as the swelling of the inflamed gum tissue goes away. This may result in more space between the teeth.

If extensive root planning or laser therapy was performed, chewing hard foods, such as meat or raw vegetables, may be uncomfortable. This should last no longer than a few days. A diet of a softer consistency would be advised until chewing becomes more comfortable. Soft foods such as yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, and soups are recommended.

If a local anesthetic was used, avoid chewing foods until feeling returns to avoid injury to the lip, tongue or cheeks. Again, softer foods are recommended.

Acetaminophen or a non-aspirin analgesic should be taken as needed to reduce discomfort. If tooth sensitivity persists, use a desensitizing toothpaste containing potassium nitrate. If the sensitivity is severe and prolonged, professional application of a desensitizing agent may be required.

If gum tissues are tender, brush your teeth gently, but thoroughly: this may take a little more time than normal. By the third to fourth day, normal oral hygiene techniques can be resumed. Mouth rinsing is recommended with either of the following solutions: (1) an antimicrobial rinse, or (2) a warm saline rinse. Use of these rinses should be limited to one to two weeks.

Following laser therapy and scaling and root planning you can expect to notice less redness, less bleeding and less swelling of your gum tissue. Your gum health can then be maintained with proper home care and regular professional care.

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