Is Teeth Cleaning Painful?

The thought of undergoing pain for a simple procedure such as teeth cleaning could be the reason why most of the population doesn't prefer teeth cleaning. While the procedure is dreaded by many, it will ensure that your teeth remain healthy for longer.

Does teeth cleaning hurt?

It shouldn't hurt; however, if you experience gum inflammation, tooth decay and poor oral health, it's going to hurt. Your first time might not hurt, but if you don't maintain the recommended oral hygiene, the second time will hurt. If it has been over 6 months since your last teeth cleaning appointment, expect to feel the pinch. During the 6-plus months, tartar has been building up, and the hygienist has to use more force to remove the build-up.

Also, tartar and plaque build-up will increase gum inflammation and sensitivity. All of this will result in more pain.

Teeth cleaning shouldn't be painful, but you might feel some discomfort, especially if it was a thorough cleaning. Give your mouth time to recover and afterwards ensure that you maintain proper oral hygiene.

How to reduce teeth cleaning pain

If your teeth cleaning appointments are typically painful, you can reduce the pain by following these tips:

1. Talk to your dentist or hygienist

Tell your dentist that you're experiencing some discomfort or pain during teeth cleanings. The dentist will try to identify the cause of the discomfort and remedy it. If the cause is tooth pain, your hygienist can remedy it by requesting you to desensitise your teeth using topical fluoride. This remedy works best when applied before the teeth cleaning appointment.  

If pain is due to plaque and tartar build-up, the hygienist will try to make you feel as comfortable as possible. You can also take ibuprofen at least 1 hour before you go for teeth cleaning. It will help reduce pain, inflammation and discomfort during cleaning. After cleaning, you can take another dose to help ease the pain and inflammation.

2. Change your toothpaste

As you age, the gum begins to recede, leaving sensitive areas of your teeth exposed. Even the slightest touch to these sensitive areas could cause discomfort. You can reduce the root sensitivity by using a desensitising toothpaste. Consult your hygienist for a recommendation on the best desensitising toothpaste.

3. Listen to music

A distraction during teeth cleaning could help alleviate the pain. Talk to your hygienist and request that they allow you to listen to music during cleaning. You can carry headphones or earbuds so as not to distract the hygienist while cleaning your teeth.