Sometimes people put off seeing a dentist, even for routine cleanings, because they are afraid that the dental cleaning is going to hurt. And it's sometimes true: dental cleanings can hurt. The good news is that dental cleanings don't have to hurt, and that much of the deciding factor between whether or not they do lies in your hands.
The biggest thing to know is that dental cleanings don't have to hurt! A dental cleaning can be completely painless and easy. Much of that has to do with your hygienist and dentist and their skill and care (and at Smiles of Cary we pride ourselves on having top notch hygienists who work with a gentle hand and good bedside manner), and a lot of that hurt has to do with how you take care of your teeth. So remember that if you want to have a pain-free cleaning, make sure you select the right dentist, and make sure that you practice good oral hygiene.
We don't mean to point the blame at you for a painful dental cleaning—it's not always your fault! But the vast majority of painful problems that erupt during a dental cleaning are due to you not taking proper care of your teeth. You've probably heard stories (or experienced yourself) when dental hygienists ask patients how often they floss, only to get told it's every day—all while the patient's mouth is running with blood from tender and never-flossed gums.
The truth is that if you properly care for your mouth by brushing and flossing every day, and you have regular visits with the dentist, you won't be in for a painful shock when the hygienist starts working on your teeth.
Gum disease is one of the most common ailments of people with poor oral hygiene, and one of the main reasons that teeth cleanings are so painful. Also known as periodontal disease, this is an infection that attacks more than just the gums, but the ligaments and bones around the roots of the teeth as well. Common symptoms of gum disease include the following:
The best way to combat gum disease? Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. It's such a simple solution to such a painful problem.
During a cleaning your teeth can feel very sensitive—more so than usual—and it's because of gum disease. With gum disease your gums pull away from the teeth exposing the root of the tooth, which is much more sensitive to both touch, and hot and cold water. During a cleaning, the hygienist and dentist may poke and prod at this area both to remove tartar and other buildup, but also to examine the depth of the problems. And it can hurt.
Mild gum disease is called gingivitis, in which the gingiva (the fancy word for gums) are swollen and tender. The gingiva are full of blood vessels, and when the swollen and tender gingiva are touched by cleaning implements, they can burst and bleed. If left uncontrolled, this gingivitis can turn into periodontitis.
By cleaning your teeth regularly with brushing, flossing and rinsing, you'll develop strong and healthy gums and teeth that won't have these problems.
Just because some of the pain that you experience during a dental cleaning can be because of poor oral hygiene doesn't mean that you need to tough it out and accept punishment and pain. If you're hurting, tell the hygienist or dentist, and they'll do their best to make sure that you are as comfortable and safe as possible.
It is always our dearest wish that our patients are free from pain and problems, and while there may be the occasionally time when something painful needs to happen to get you well, we want to minimize your discomfort and pain as much as possible while you're here and set you on the road to good oral hygiene in the future, free from pain.
Are you ready to get a dental cleaning?