Updated: Nov 13
A deep cleaning does not prevent you from eating what you want but some foods may be more comfortable to eat than others. In addition to that, you should also take into consideration when you should eat because you may still be numb from the procedure.
Table of Contents:
What is a deep teeth cleaning?
Dental professionals call deep teeth cleanings, scaling and root planing and it is different from a regular cleaning because it includes the root planing portion.
Here are some differences vs a regular teeth cleaning:
It includes scaling AND root planing while a regular cleaning only includes scaling.
It includes a numbing shot with numbing gel.
A dental prophylaxis or regular cleaning is used to treat gingivitis.
Scaling and root planing is used to treat periodontitis.
After deep cleaning of teeth, what can you eat?
After the anesthesia wears off, you can practically eat whatever your heart desires as long as the food is not uncomfortable to chew on. Physically you can eat anything, however some foods may be more comfortable to eat than others.
Recommended foods that are comfortable to eat:
All foods that have a soft texture and is not rough or chewy would be the most comfortable to eat.
Non al dente pasta
Soft cooked rice
Mac and cheese
Soft steamed vegetables
Foods that are NOT recommended to eat after a deep cleaning:
Basically anything that is hard, chewy, or requires a lot of jaw muscles to break down.
Hard bread like baguettes
Spicy foods because your gums may be sensitive
Avoid cold desserts because the gums may still be loose from the treatment and require time to tighten up. When they're loose, they don't protect your teeth from temperatures as well.
We do recommend eating softer and more comfortable foods, however you should also consider a couple of meals that may be rich in iron. The reason is because you were most likely bleeding a lot from the deep cleaning so it would be beneficial to replenish some of that lost blood.
This means that if you're able to tolerate eating some red meat, it will help you replenish your blood supply. You can try some bbq such as thin sliced beef or meat that falls off the bone. Although if you can handle some medium rare steak, that would give you a pleasant boost in iron replenishment! Who can turn down some steak and potatoes?
How long should you adhere to these guidelines?
Your teeth may be sensitive for the first 1-3 days but after that, you should pretty much be functioning normally. Therefore on average, you may want to stick to a more comfortable diet for the first 1-3 days. After that you can resume business as usual.
Immediate post-operative instructions for a deep cleaning
Even though there is nothing stopping you from eating what you want, you should still wait for the numbing to wear off before you start eating. You're most likely still numb so you can't feel your face, your cheeks, and your tongue. If you eat now you may bite your lips or bite your tongue and you won't even feel it. You don't want to cause any self-inflicted trauma.
Please wait until the anesthesia wears off, which takes approximately 2-3 hours. However the anesthesia may last longer in some people and shorter in others. To be certain, wait until you can feel the sensation in your entire face come back before you chow down.
In addition to waiting before you eat, there are other instructions which you should adhere to after this procedure:
Instead of eating food right after a deep cleaning, we would recommend taking some pain medication before the numbing wears off.
Ibuprofen. Please take 800 mg every 8 hours for the next 24 hours.
This is equivalent to taking 4 tablets of 200 mg over the counter pills
Please be aware of the ibuprofen maximum daily dosage of 3200 mg.
Acetaminophen. Alternatively you can take 1000 mg of Tylenol every 8 hours instead.
Please be aware of the tylenol maximum daily dosage of 4000 mg.
Antibiotic rinse. Please use the antibiotic rinse (chlorhexidine) that was prescribed.
Rinse your mouth twice a day with 15 mL for about 2 minutes each time.
Antibiotic pills are typically not a part of routine after care for deep cleanings unless there is an exception such as very severe periodontal disease.
Home care for discomfort:
It is not unusual for for you to experience some discomfort after the procedure. You may experience some of these symptoms:
Lingering or prolonged numbness
Chapped lips or bruising of lips and cheeks
Residual gum swelling
Residual gum bleeding
Gums may also feel very tender
Teeth may be sensitive after the numbing wears off
For the swelling you can use an ice pack on the operated area.
Alternate 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for as long as you need.
If you need to lie down and rest, keep your head elevated above your heart.
You can also apply moist heat too if it helps
For the bleeding please remember to bite down on gauze for 20-30 minutes and switch out to a new one until it stops bleeding.
If you find that the gum bleeding is not stopping, you can also bite into a black tea bag instead. The tannic acid helps to stop the bleeding.
Consistent biting pressure will help to stop the bleeding, if it doesn't then you're not biting hard enough.
Please do not rinse, spit, or drink through a straw for the next 24 hours.
If the gum bleeding persists after 48 hours, please give our LIC dentist office a call.
For the teeth sensitivity afterwards please use a sensitivity toothpaste. This is because you most likely had a lot of plaque, calculus, and tartar that was covering the surfaces of the teeth. That covering was preventing air from touching the teeth so you got use to it but now that it is gone, your teeth are not use to the air. Why don't you just leave the plaque and calculus you say? Because they eat away at your bone and then your teeth get loose and fall out.
The most common sensitivity toothpaste would be Sensodyne. Try to find the one without whitening for maximum effect.
A fluoride free alternative would be a natural hydroxyapatite toothpaste.
This new natural toothpaste adds an extra protective barrier on top of your teeth.
Last but not least, please do not smoke for the next 3 days following the deep cleaning of teeth. The smoking and cigarettes will delay the gum healing.
Oral Hygiene Regime
You can resume your normal oral hygiene routine on the day of.
Brush your teeth and floss your teeth like you normally do twice a day.
You can use your regular mouth wash.
Don't forget to do a salt water mouth rinse after every meal. The salt water will help decrease gum inflammation and swelling. It will also keep the teeth free of food debris. You just need to dissolve a tablespoon of salt in an 8 oz glass of water.
You can eat whatever you want after a deep teeth cleaning but you should wait until after the numbing wears off. With that said, there are certain foods which are more comfortable to eat afterwards but the decision is yours to make.
There are post operative care instructions which you should follow after the procedure. These will help address some of the symptoms you may experience afterwards.
Now that you're done with your deep cleaning, don't forget to return for the other side of the mouth since usually only one side is done at a time.
Author: Written by Dr David Chen, a long island city dentist.