Dental cleaning is an essential part of maintaining oral health. However, for some people, it can be a source of discomfort or pain. Understanding why dental cleaning hurts and how to alleviate this discomfort can make the process more manageable and less stressful.
What Is a Dental Cleaning?
A dental cleaning, also known as a professional teeth cleaning, is a routine procedure performed by a dental hygienist or dentist. This process is a crucial part of your oral hygiene routine, aimed at maintaining your dental health by removing the accumulation of dental plaque and tartar that have built up on the teeth over a period of time.
These cleanings, which can range from regular cleanings to deep teeth cleanings, involve the use of special dental tools and an abrasive paste to effectively clean the teeth. The cleaning process is meticulous, focusing on the visible parts of the teeth and the hard-to-reach areas, ensuring that no leftover plaque or food particles remain.
During a deep cleaning procedure known as root planing, the dental professional cleans below the gum line to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth roots. This is particularly important for patients showing signs of gum disease, as the bacteria in gum pockets can lead to more serious oral health issues if not addressed.
The goal of teeth cleaning, whether it’s a routine cleaning or a deep cleaning treatment, is to prevent conditions like tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. It’s also a preventative measure against more serious health conditions, including heart disease, which can be linked to poor oral health.
These dental cleaning sessions allow your oral care provider to offer care instructions, like proper brushing techniques or antimicrobial mouthwash, to help you maintain good oral hygiene habits at home.
Does It Hurt?
Dental cleaning pain tolerance varies depending on several factors, such as individual sensitivity, overall oral health, and even personal anxiety levels. While some individuals may hardly feel any discomfort during the procedure, others might experience mild to moderate sensations of pressure, scraping, or sensitivity.
It’s important to remember that any discomfort is usually temporary and a sign that your dental hygienist is effectively removing plaque and tartar to improve your oral health.
If you have concerns about pain management during your dental cleaning, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your dentist, as there are options available to ensure a more comfortable experience.
Causes of Pain During Dental Cleanings
There are several reasons why dental cleanings can be painful.
Tooth sensitivity is a common cause of discomfort during dental cleanings. Sensitive teeth can react to the cold air during cleaning, the touch of dental tools, or the abrasive paste used in the teeth cleaning process. This sensitivity can be due to thinning enamel, exposed tooth roots, or other oral health issues.
Gum Tissue Irritation
Gum tissue irritation is another factor that can contribute to discomfort during dental cleanings. This irritation is often due to poor oral hygiene habits, leading to the buildup of plaque and tartar, which inflame the gums.
If your gums are already inflamed or irritated, the cleaning process can further aggravate this condition, resulting in pain. Regular brushing and flossing, along with using an antibacterial mouthwash, can help maintain gum health and reduce the likelihood of experiencing discomfort during cleanings.
Plaque and Tartar Buildup
Plaque and tartar buildup is a common cause of discomfort during dental cleanings. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums.
If not removed regularly through proper oral hygiene, it can harden into tartar, a hard substance that can only be removed by a dental professional. The more dental buildup there is, the more extensive the cleaning process will be, which can lead to discomfort.
Regular teeth cleanings can help prevent this buildup, reducing the discomfort experienced during the cleaning process.
Level of Discomfort Experienced by the Patient
The level of discomfort experienced during a dental cleaning can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may find the cleaning process mildly uncomfortable but not painful, while others may experience more intense discomfort. This can be due to a variety of factors, including the individual’s pain tolerance, the condition of their oral health, and the amount of dental buildup.
If you are experiencing significant discomfort during your dental cleaning, it’s important to communicate this with your dental professional so they can adjust their approach and make the process as comfortable as possible for you.
Ways to Alleviate Discomfort During Dental Cleanings
There are several ways to make dental cleanings more comfortable.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
Professional dental office cleanings are known for their superior thoroughness and efficiency, surpassing what can typically be accomplished during home care. A dental professional has the tools and skills to clean your teeth effectively, which can help reduce discomfort.
Regular Cleanings to Prevent Painful Buildups
Regular teeth cleanings are essential in preventing the buildup of dental deposits, which can cause discomfort during dental cleaning sessions. By scheduling regular appointments for cleanings, you can ensure that any plaque or tartar is removed before it hardens and becomes more difficult to remove.
This can make your dental cleaning sessions more comfortable and less painful. In addition, regular checkups can help prevent gum disease, which can also cause discomfort during cleanings.
Using a Local Anesthetic or Topical Anesthetic
For those who experience significant discomfort during dental cleanings, using a local or topical anesthetic may be an effective solution. These anesthetics can numb the area being cleaned, reducing the sensation of pain.
It’s important to discuss this option with your dentist or hygienist before your cleaning, as they can advise you on the most appropriate anesthetic options for your situation.
Choosing the Right Dental Hygienist or Dentist
The dental professional performing your cleaning can also have a significant impact on your level of discomfort. A skilled and experienced dental hygienist or dentist can perform the cleaning efficiently and gently, minimizing discomfort. When choosing a dental professional, it’s important to consider their experience, training, and approach to patient care.
Why Choose Dr. Gaertner?
Dr. Andy Gaertner at Bliss Dental offers a high standard of care with a focus on patient comfort and satisfaction. He and his team strive to create a relaxed environment for their patients and are committed to delivering high-quality dental care. Whether it’s a routine cleaning or a more complex dental procedure, Dr. Gaertner’s goal is to make your visit as comfortable and pain-free as possible.