Deep cleaning of teeth, also known as scaling and root planing, is a non-surgical procedure used to treat gum disease. It involves removing plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from below and above the gum line. While the procedure is generally painless, some people may experience sensitivity or pain after deep cleaning of teeth. In this blog post, we will discuss what causes pain after deep cleaning teeth and how to manage it.
What Causes Pain after Deep Cleaning of Teeth?
The pain that some people experience after a deep cleaning of teeth may occur for several reasons:
- Gum Inflammation: The dental instruments used to remove plaque and tartar during a deep cleaning can cause irritation to the gums. This can lead to inflammation, which may result in pain.
- Exposed root surfaces: If the gums have already receded due to gum disease, removing plaque and tartar can uncover the root surfaces of teeth, leading to pain and sensitivity.
- Teeth sensitivity: Teeth that are already sensitive can become even more sensitive after the removal of plaque and tartar.
- Cavities: Deep cleaning of teeth can reveal cavities that were previously hidden by the plaque and tartar buildup, which can cause pain.
Duration and Intensity of the Pain
The duration and intensity of pain after deep cleaning of teeth can vary from person to person. Some people barely feel discomfort, while others experience significant pain and sensitivity that can last for a few days.
The level of pain and length of healing depends on several factors, such as the severity of gum disease, the amount of removed plaque and tartar buildup, and your oral hygiene routine after the treatment.
Managing the Pain Associated with Deep Teeth Cleaning
The sensitivity or pain after deep teeth cleaning usually lasts for a few days. During this period, you can try the following methods to reduce the pain:
- Over-the-counter relievers: Taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may help ease the discomfort.
- Saltwater rinses: Mixing one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water to rinse your mouth can help reduce gum inflammation and pain.
- Desensitizing toothpaste: Using a desensitizing toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth can help reduce sensitivity and pain.
- Avoid foods that are too hard, hot, or cold: Eating softer foods is important for letting the gums heal properly, as well as avoiding extreme temperatures that might cause more irritation.
- Don’t brush or floss too vigorously: It’s important to take care of your teeth and gums, but brushing or flossing too aggressively can cause more irritation and pain.
- Keep your follow-up appointment: It’s important to keep the follow-up appointment with your dentist after a deep cleaning so that they can monitor your progress and provide additional advice.
When to See a Dentist?
Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Severe pain that is not relieved with over-the-counter medications
- Swelling of the gums or face
- Pus coming from the gums
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Deep teeth cleaning can be uncomfortable, but the sensitivity or pain typically only lasts a few days. However, if you experience pain that worsens or does not improve after a few days, contact your dentist. Your dentist can identify the cause of your pain and provide more specific treatment to help improve your recovery.
You can read more about loose teeth after deep cleaning.
Tips for Preventing Tooth Pain After Deep Cleaning
Taking good care of your teeth and gums is key to preventing sensitivity and pain after a deep cleaning. Here are some tips that can help you maintain good oral health:
- Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste: Good brushing habits are essential for getting rid of plaque and bacteria before they cause issues.
- Floss every day: Flossing helps get into those tight areas between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach, reducing the risk of developing cavities and gum disease.
- Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash: An antiseptic mouthwash helps reduce plaque, freshen breath, and prevent irritation.
- Eat healthy foods: Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is important for overall health, including oral health.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco use: Smoking can increase the risk of gum disease, oral cancer, and other dental issues.
- Visit your dentist regularly: Seeing your dentist every 6 months for a routine checkup and cleaning is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. This regular visit allows your dentist to identify any issues and provide treatment before they get worse.
Deep cleaning of teeth, also known as scaling and root planing, is a dental procedure used to treat gum disease. While deep cleaning is typically a painless procedure, some people may experience pain or sensitivity afterward.
The pain usually lasts for a few days, and the intensity of the pain varies from person to person. However, if the pain worsens over time, contact your dentist immediately.
The pain can be attributed to a few reasons, such as inflammation of the gums from the procedure, exposed root surfaces, sensitive teeth, and cavities.
You can minimize post-procedure pain by taking OTC pain relievers, using saltwater rinses, and avoiding hot, cold, or hard foods. Additionally, use a desensitizing toothpaste and follow good oral hygiene practices.