What Is A Teeth Or Dental Cleaning?

While it isn’t normal, some patients do experience tooth sensitivity after a cleaning.

A dental cleaning is also referred to as a hygiene cleaning, scaling, or teeth cleaning. A dental hygienist usually performs this procedure. The goal of a dental cleaning is the removal of build-up from the teeth.Build-up is sometimes called plaque, tartar, or calculus. The soft, slippery film that you feel on your teeth after a long day or when you just wake up is called plaque. If this plaque is left to harden, it is called calculus or tartar. Dental cleanings reduce the risk of developing dental decay.

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Tooth Cleaning Sensitivity

While tooth sensitivity isn’t normal for most patients, some patients are at an increased risk.

Existing Tooth Sensitivity: Patients with existing tooth sensitivity may experience ongoing sensitivity or increased sensitivity after a dental cleaning. Patients with sensitivity may be using toothpaste that is designed to treat sensitive teeth. Sensitivity toothpaste works by building a protective layer on the surfaces of the teeth. This protective layer reduces the effects of cold, hot, and acidic type foods. Since the goal of a dental cleaning is to remove layers of plaque or tartar build-up, the protective layer is often removed as well. As a result, these patients may experience increased sensitivity after their cleaning. However, this is a temporary issue and will be resolved with the regular use of sensitivity toothpaste. Keep in mind that most sensitivity toothpaste requires approximately three to four weeks of use to achieve the desired effects.

Existing Dental Recession: Patients who have gum recession may also experience sensitivity after a cleaning. Gum recession describes a lack of gum tissue in areas of the mouth. When the gum is lower than usual, it leaves more of the tooth exposed. When eating cold or hot foods, the tooth is exposed to these foods.

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Aggressive Brushing or Toothbrush Abrasion: Patients who brush their teeth aggressively, or use a toothbrush with hard bristles are also at risk of tooth sensitivity. Brushing aggressively repeatedly results in damage to the tooth’s enamel and dentin. This increases the risk of sensitivity when having foods or during a dental cleaning.

What Can You Do?

If you have existing tooth sensitivity or have experienced sensitivity in the past after a dental cleaning, let your dental professional know. They can alter the type of dental tools used for your cleaning or apply treatment to help minimize the sensitivity.

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