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Why teeth sensitive after cleaning?

Jul 3, 2023Oral health

Why teeth sensitive after cleaning?

Teeth sensitivity can be caused by exposure of the dentin layer beneath the enamel, which can occur due to receding gums. It is important to keep in mind that the roots of our teeth do not have a layer of enamel to protect them, and any contact with them may result in sensitivity, such as when using dental tools. Various elements can contribute to tooth sensitivity, but dental cleanings have been identified as a potential cause. During the cleaning process, your dental care professional may inspect and treat the gums using instruments that come into contact with sensitive areas of your teeth.

It is not unusual for individuals to experience increased sensitivity in their teeth following a professional dental cleaning; however, this discomfort should be temporary and should generally subside in a few days.

Some may experience sensitivity in their teeth and gums following a cleaning. In some cases, individuals may be particularly unfortunate to have both teeth and gums that are sensitive.

When visiting the dentist for a cleaning and examination, they will utilize their scaling tool to assess your gums for decay and other potential issues near and below the gumline.

If your periodontal health is not optimal and you have gum inflammation (gingivitis) or gum disease, it may result in gingival swelling and bleeding.

Following the examination, your dentist will remove the plaque and tartar from around the gums. If the gums were not in good health before the procedure, they may be sensitive to the touch afterwards.

The enamel on teeth is comprised of numerous tubules, each containing nerve endings. Unfortunately, when dental hygiene habits are inadequate, these tubules can become blocked by plaque and tartar build up.

The buildup of tartar and plaque on teeth can restrict access to the nerves by blocking the tubules. A thorough dental cleaning can help open the tubules, allowing exposure to the nerves once again.

Another justification for sensitivity to cold, hot, or sweet foods is the use of special toothpastes by those with sensitive teeth. These toothpastes help to plug tubules and safeguard exposed nerves. Unfortunately, during regular dental cleanings this protective barrier may be removed, leaving nerves vulnerable once more.


Who May Experience Tooth Cleaning Sensitivity?

Patients who suffer from tooth sensitivity tend to have existing dental conditions that can be exacerbated during teeth cleaning. Consequently, these patients may experience discomfort during the procedure. Patients with dental recession may experience increased sensitivity in the teeth when consuming food or cold beverages. Dental recession is characterized by insufficient coverage of the tooth by the gums. Gum recession occurs when the gums surrounding the teeth gradually become detached from the teeth and shrink away, leaving roughly one-third of the tooth exposed. This condition can affect one or multiple areas of the mouth.

Sensitive teeth can be caused by dental abrasion on the enamel and gums, which is often the result of using a toothbrush that has hard bristles or brushing too aggressively. Aggressive brushing can result in damage to the gums and teeth. If the gums are damaged, it can cause them to recede and leave the tooth root exposed, leading to increased sensitivity.

Patients with severe dental enamel damage, caused by acidic wear or acid erosion, may experience sensitivity following a dental cleaning.


What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by the receding of gums, which exposes the vulnerable roots of the teeth. The roots are not protected by enamel like the surfaces of the teeth, thus making them much more sensitive to touch or temperature changes. Within each tooth there are numerous microscopic passages that lead directly to the pulp, which houses the tooth’s nerve center.

If the dental enamel and dentin channels become exposed, it can lead to increased sensitivity of stimuli such as temperature, pressure, or coldness being able to access the tooth nerve.

Tooth sensitivity can be attributed to a variety of causes, including:

  • Brushing too hard: It is quite common for individuals to utilize excessive force or an overly firm toothbrush when brushing their teeth. Approximately two out of every three people fall into this category.
  • Poor oral hygiene: The accumulation of tartar and bacteria can lead to the development of gum disease and gum recession.
  • Cracked, broken, or ground teeth.
  • Patients may require dental procedures such as teeth whitening, cleaning, capping, or fillings.
  • Diet: Exposure to acidic foods can lead to erosion of enamel, and an over-stimulation due to hot or cold beverages and foods can result in increased sensitivity.
  • Mouthwash: Prolonged use of mouthwash can erode dental enamel and lead to increased tooth sensitivity.
  • Nerve damage in the teeth.

Tooth sensitivity can vary significantly from individual to individual, and there are a variety of causes that may contribute to the condition.


How do I stop my teeth from hurting after a dental cleaning?

To ensure optimal oral health and reduce the risk of toothache following dental cleanings, it is important to attend regular check-ups and practice good hygiene habits at home.

Routine dental cleanings: It is recommended that one visits their dentist every six months in order to maintain oral health. Regular visits help to reduce the amount of tartar buildup and overall discomfort associated with teeth cleaning. Missing appointments, however, can allow bacteria to accumulate and cause further pain when the cleaning occurs. If you haven’t received a cleaning for five years, there could be a significant amount of tartar buildup that requires removal.

Maintain impeccable oral hygiene: By engaging in a regular brushing and flossing routine, individuals can reduce the amount of tartar they possess. Plaque is soft and removable while tartar is not. Eliminating plaque before it has a chance to transform into tartar is an effective way to achieve healthier teeth. This will make your teeth less sensitive after a dental appointment as there is less material to clean.

If you have any additional concerns regarding why your teeth may be hurting following a cleaning, please do not hesitate to book an appointment with one of our dentists here in Liberty Village Dental Care. They will be delighted to assist you and provide further information.

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