In a previous blog article, we outlined the two categories into which we put gum disease – gingivitis and periodontitis. Depending on the type of gum disease you may experience different symptoms following your professional cleaning, including sensitivity and tenderness. However, most people do not experience any discomfort post-cleaning if they are regular with their dental hygiene appointments.

Should I Expect Any Pain or Discomfort?

During a routine half yearly clean you may experience some sensitivity. This can be due to tooth brush abrasion or gum recession which has exposed the sensitive root surface. There are many avenues to explore if you suffer from sensitivity so be sure to alert us of any discomfort day to day or throughout your appointment.

If you have had a six monthly, routine clean there may be some tenderness. This occurs if the gums are inflamed by poorly removed bacterial plaque build-up, so make sure you keep on top of flossing and brushing between appointments!

If you have undergone deep gum cleaning for periodontitis (periodontal disease) the area is likely to be numb during the cleaning. However, following the deep cleaning you may experience some tenderness as the professional clean flushes the infected gum pockets. In the same way that the cleaning of an infected cut on your hand can be uncomfortable, the gums can be similarly tender afterwards.

When calcified plaque (calculus) that has been allowed to build up on the tooth surface is removed, the surface exposed can be sensitive. Often the calculus that is removed has been covering the soft root surface and is initially sensitive when re-exposed to the oral cavity. We routinely place desensitising varnishes on theses sensitive areas. To combat this sensitivity it is important to be gentle but thorough with your tooth brushing. You can also use sensitive toothpastes such as Sensodyne or Colgate Pro Relief.

Dental Fillings Can Reduce Tooth Sensitivity

When the inflamed and infected gum pockets begin to heal after deep cleaning gum recession can occur. The bacteria that has burrowed deep into the gum pockets disolves the supporting bone structure irreversibly. As the inflammation resolves the gums become healthy again and tighten against the tooth and bone structure. The gum is supported by bone and therefore if the bone has lessened, as the gums heal they will shrink and receed. This process exposes the sensitive root surface below. The root can appear a little darker in colour and, initially, can be quite sensitive . As mentioned before, we routinely place desensitising varnishes on these areas and there are toothpastes that can help reduce sensitivity. Another option we may suggest is placing a small filling over the root surface to reduce sensitivity but to also protect against brushing that may be a little too vigorous!

We endeavour to make your dental cleaning as comfortable as we can, but if you are still a little bit nervous, ask us about happy gas to help you relax.

More tips on dealing with and preventing gum disease can be read here: Your oral health while pregnant

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