Millions of people get their teeth cleaned every year. The American Dental Association recommends having a regular, professional cleaning every six months for healthy teeth and gums in addition to you regular brushing and flossing.
However, some folks experience what can feel like a toothache after a dental cleaning. Is this normal? What causes pain after dental cleaning? Dr. Mullins is often asked these questions and he has some answers for you.
Why do I have a toothache after dental cleaning?
For starters, many people already have sensitive teeth and scraping off layers of plaque and tarter can temporarily aggravate the condition. If you have sensitive teeth or experience sensitivity to heat or cold, you may have some discomfort after any dental procedure. When you come in for your next dental cleaning, Let Dr. Mullins know if you have sensitive teeth and he may have some suggestions on what you can do to lessen your discomfort after your cleaning.
If it’s been more than six months since your last cleaning, even if you are diligent with your dental hygiene, the removal of hard-to-reach plaque and tartar will expose the more of the surfaces of your teeth to extreme temperatures than had been exposed while they were covered with plaque. This can cause a toothache after dental cleaning and these effects could last for a few days until your teeth and gums become used to the normal temperatures of the foods you eat. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important for you to keep your regularly scheduled dental cleaning appointments.
If you have issues with your gums, like the gum disease gingivitis, you may also experience pain or discomfort after a dental cleaning. Because plaque and tartar are being removed, the surface of your gums that may have been affected will be exposed. Also, sensitivity as a result of gingivitis or gum disease can make your gums more sensitive to cleaning. In either case, this discomfort should decrease fairly quickly, and the cleaning will help prevent the progress of gum disease.
Even if your teeth and gums are healthy and you get dental cleanings every six months as suggested, your regular cleanings can dislodge plaque and particles in between teeth, allowing teeth to shift back to their natural positions. This can also cause an aching feeling, which you may also experience after flossing. As in the situations mentioned above, this feeling is normal and will pass quickly.
If you have sensitivity that doesn’t go away after a few days or gets progressively worse, contact your dentist.
Although a toothache after dental cleaning can’t really be avoided for most people, you can lessen the discomfort by following a regular dental hygiene regimen and eating healthy foods and drinking lots of water. Also, Dr. Mullins would be happy to provide you with suggestions for the best types of toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss to maximize your dental hygiene benefits.
Whatever you do, don’t let a little bit of pain or discomfort cause you to fail to have your teeth cleaned regularly. Without these appointments, you could very easily develop problems with your teeth that can have painful consequences, and a toothache after dental cleaning could end up being the least of your worries!