How To Relieve Pain After A Dental Cleaning
Have you ever had a dental cleaning, and afterwards your teeth were very sensitive? Whether you had a simple cleaning, or a deep cleaning, patients complain about their teeth being sensitive after the procedure. But what causes the sensitivity, and what exactly can be done about it? The first topic that must be discussed to understand why this happens is the basic anatomy of a tooth.
The above picture is showing a cross section of your tooth. It may seem a bit confusing at first, but let’s go over individual parts together.
Enamel: Enamel is the protective layer that forms the outside portion of your crown (the portion of your tooth you see inside your mouth). It helps protect the inside layers of your teeth from contaminants. When you develop a cavity this is usually the first layer that is affected before the cavity gets too large and infiltrates the inside portion of your teeth.
Dentin: Dentin is the second protective layer that guards our nerve tissue inside our teeth. The layer is composed of small tubules that can lead to tooth sensitivity of exposed to the outside environment.
Pulp and Nerve Canals: This is a chamber that holds all the blood vessels and nerve tissue that supplies the tooth. This is typically what is removed when someone has a “root canal” performed.
Root: This is the outside portion of the tooth that is typically embedded underneath your gum tissue. It normally cannot be seen inside the mouth.
With this basic knowledge let’s see why someone gets sensitive after their dental cleaning.
Cleaning performed on teeth that have exposed dentin.
Remember that dentin was the second layer of protection guarding the pulp chamber from infiltration of contaminants. Unfortunately, this layer is very sensitive and when instruments compress on this layer to clean it, this portion of the tooth can become even more sensitive. The picture below a patient who grinds and bruxes their teeth, and how these patients are prone to having dentin exposure.
Cleaning performed on exposed roots:
Remember that the root portion of your teeth are supposed to be embedded underneath your gum tissue. These roots are some times exposed in patients with gum recession, or severe grinding habits. When a dental cleaning is performed, and the roots are thoroughly cleaned and debrided, they can become very sensitive. It is normally this portion of your teeth that cause the sensitivity after your dental cleaning. The picture below denotes exposure of the root of an upper canine. Again, these areas tend to get very sensitive after a dental cleaning.
How To Relieve Pain After A Dental Cleaning
Fortunately, there are steps to take to relieve pain after your cleaning. Here are some tips that will help you.
- Change Your Toothpaste: Changing from traditional toothpastes over to Sensodyne is a really great option. Sensodyne has ingredients within its paste that is specifically designed to help patients with sensitive teeth. Their pastes help tremendously with post-operative tooth sensitivity after your cleaning.
- Warm Salt-Water Rinses: Salt water rinses help heal your gum tissue after your cleaning. A lot of times, your dental hygienist will clean underneath your gum tissue causing sensitivity. The warm salt water will help your gum tissue heal faster, lowering the time of sensitivity after your teeth cleaning.
- Prevident: Prevident is a prescription based toothpaste that is used for sensitive teeth. If your sensitivity is very severe after your cleaning, your dentist may prescribe this paste to you. It is typically used for a period of 6-8 weeks, and helps a lot with post-operative teeth sensitivity.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: Using a softer toothbrush if you’re currently using a medium or hard bristled toothbrush is strongly recommended. Hard bristles can exacerbate, and make your sensitivity a lot worse after your dental cleaning.
- Warm water with honey: Honey has been shown to help with sensitivity after your teeth cleaning. Drinking warm honey water 2-3 times daily can help sooth your teeth, and relieve teeth sensitivity immensely.
Teeth sensitivity after your dental cleaning is a common problem, but as we have shown there are ways to remedy until your body finds its equilibrium. Use the methods mentioned above, and you’ll be back to normal in no time.