Is Teeth Cleaning Painful?

Is Teeth Cleaning Painful?

Teeth cleaning, also known as dental prophylaxis, is typically not painful. In fact, for most people, it is a comfortable and straightforward procedure that helps maintain good oral hygiene and prevent dental problems.

During a professional teeth cleaning appointment, a dental hygienist or dentist will use specialized tools to remove plaque, tartar (hardened plaque), and surface stains from the teeth and along the gumline. The process may include:

  • Scaling:The removal of plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces using a scaler or ultrasonic instrument. This may produce some scraping sensations, but it should not be painful, especially if the teeth and gums are healthy.
  • Polishing:The teeth are polished using a gritty toothpaste-like substance and a rotating brush or rubber cup. This helps remove surface stains and leaves the teeth feeling smooth and clean.
  • Flossing:The hygienist or dentist will floss between the teeth to remove plaque and debris from areas that may be difficult to reach with a toothbrush.
  • Fluoride Treatment (optional):Some dental offices offer fluoride treatment after teeth cleaning to help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.

How to make teeth cleaning comfortable

In order to make cleanings comfortable, it is a good idea to go to the dentist in Phoenix, AZ every six months. The hygienist will have less tartar and plaque to remove and the process will be less invasive. Patients can still have a comfortable cleaning, even if they have not gone to the dentist for years or have sensitive teeth and gums. These tips will reduce the discomfort during the cleaning.

Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth

Gum recession causes tooth sensitivity. This can make a dental cleaning uncomfortable. Patients can combat this issue by switching to a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth. The toothpaste makes the teeth less sensitive over time. People are less likely to experience sensitivity during professional cleanings when they use this toothpaste twice a day for several days or weeks.

Floss before the visit

When people have not flossed for a long time, the gums will bleed when the hygienist flosses them. This is uncomfortable for some patients. Flossing once a day leading up to the professional teeth cleaning prepares the gums. The gums will be less likely to bleed, and patients will be more comfortable.

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever

Patients who are concerned about experiencing pain during a cleaning should take an over-the-counter pain reliever one hour before the appointment. The medication will be in effect by the time the cleaning begins. Those who experience discomfort after the cleaning should take the medication again six hours later if allowed. Always follow the directions on the medication bottle. Call us to learn more.

Get a topical anesthesia

Many people think that the only way to get numbed at the dentist in 85053 is with a shot. However, dentists also have topical numbing agents that are applied directly to the gums. The dentist uses a Q-tip to slide the agent across the soft tissue. This numbs the area instantly and reduces discomfort during dental cleanings.

Talk to the hygienist

Patients who have tooth sensitivity should discuss the issue with the hygienist. Hygienists can change the technique used when they know the patient has an issue. For instance, if cold water makes the teeth sensitive, the hygienist can rinse the mouth another way. The hygienist will also be mindful of potential sensitive spots during the cleaning.

Have a pain-free cleaning

Going to the dentist regularly is the easiest way to avoid pain during professional cleanings. You can also make your visit more comfortable by using a sensitive toothpaste and flossing daily. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever before the visit and ask for a topical numbing agent. Then, talk to the dentist and hygienist about your concerns.

Request an appointment here: or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at (602) 547-9007 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.


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