Professional dental cleanings are an essential part of a good oral hygiene regimen. Occasionally, you may experience some sensitivity afterwards, especially after a deep clean. But the good news is that these sensations usually fade after a few days, leaving your teeth and gums healthier (and happier) than before. However, if your sensitivity lingers much longer, here’s what you need to know.
When plaque becomes calcified and forms tartar on your teeth, brushing your teeth at home won’t be enough to remove it. A professional scale and clean is the only way to eliminate it. Tartar often appears on or near the gumline, and your dental professional removes it with special tools through a process called scaling. They may also perform root planing or deep cleaning, which involves the use of tools between the gums and tooth roots to remove plaque and tartar on the root surfaces.
Before a deep-cleaning session, the gums may be inflamed and swollen. There may also be deep pockets infected with bacteria. These are signs of gum disease, and, usually, you do not experience any pain, according to the Australian Dental Association. Both scaling and root planing help treat these problems, but they can cause some discomfort and bleeding. Your dental professional may offer a local anaesthetic for a particularly extensive deep clean.
What happens next
General soreness, sensitive teeth and some gum bleeding are normal after deep cleaning at the dental surgery. Some effects are due to the cleaning tools disturbing inflamed gums which bleed easily. Deep cleaning also exposes new areas of the teeth that were previously covered in tartar. Where the gums have receded from the teeth, removing tartar exposes these tooth roots. These areas aren’t covered in enamel, so they’re more sensitive than the rest of the tooth.
After cleaning swollen, tender or bleeding gums improve quickly provided you brush and floss carefully and regularly. General discomfort due to dental cleaning disappears in one or two days for most patients. Tooth sensitivity, though, can last longer. Eating or drinking hot or cold foods, and brushing can all be particularly uncomfortable – but this discomfort should pass within a week or two.
Caring for deep-cleaned teeth
Taking good care of your teeth after a deep cleaning treatment helps your gums heal. Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush while your gums are still sore and floss daily with care. Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth to help combat tooth sensitivity and avoid eating foods or drinking liquids that set off your sensitivity until this has resolved.
Sensitive teeth after cleaning is relatively common and you can usually resolve this yourself at home. Use the right toothpaste, and watch what you eat and drink. But remember, if your symptoms last longer than a week or two, or you have any other concerns, make sure you contact your dental professional.