Should A Professional Dental Cleaning Feel Uncomfortable?

Posted on: 13 October 2022

A thorough dental cleaning is a key feature of your regular checkups. This is when your dentist or dental hygienist gives your teeth the sort of thorough cleaning that your toothbrush is incapable of managing, no matter how carefully you might brush. You should certainly feel that your teeth are being professionally cleaned, but this sensation should be little more than some light sensitivity. So why have your professional cleanings become uncomfortable?

Scraping and Vibrations

Some sensitivity and very minor discomfort can be expected with a professional dental cleaning. Your teeth may be scaled, which involves a scraping motion over your teeth, producing friction, and this can be very slightly uncomfortable. Comparably, if your cleaning involves the use of a motorized bur, its rapid oscillations can create vibrations, which can also feel a little unpleasant. But this should be the extent of any discomfort. If your teeth actively hurt, then there are other factors that must be considered.

The Tooth's Nerve

Any decay that has increased the sensitivity of a tooth's pulp (which is its nerve, and the only part of the tooth that can register pain) will be noted during your examination. If a cavity needs to be filled, this can usually happen during your checkup, depending on any time constraints. Any teeth with an active cavity won't be scaled during your examination, so it's not as though an undiagnosed cavity can be the cause of your discomfort. After all, any cavities will quickly be diagnosed during a checkup.

Plaque on Your Teeth

Similarly to the discovery of decay, gum disease and general inflammation may also be noted during your checkup, but a visual assessment isn't always conclusive. There are typical markers for gum disease and inflammation (especially gingivitis), and this is the amount of plaque on your teeth. But the severity of any gum disease may not become obvious until the professional cleaning begins, and your discomfort becomes evident.

Gum Probing

Report any discomfort during your cleaning. Your dentist may opt to halt the procedure in order to probe for gingival and periodontal pockets, which are reliable indicators of whether your teeth have begun to pull away from your gums. This can expose the tooth's lower surfaces and increase their sensitivity. Although dental scaling gets the level of oral bacteria in your mouth to a manageable level and therefore reduces gum inflammation, your discomfort can suggest that you'll need additional treatment for gum disease.

Professional dental cleaning often triggers some sensitivity in your teeth, but if your discomfort is particularly noticeable, please inform your dentist immediately. It's likely that you're experiencing gum disease, which needs to be addressed. For more information, contact a dentist near you.