Dental hygiene is essential for maintaining oral health, and one of the routine procedures is teeth cleaning, also known as dental prophylaxis. While teeth cleaning is a necessary and effective way to prevent gum disease and cavities, some people may experience discomfort or pain afterward.

Why Does Teeth Cleaning Cause Pain?

Teeth cleaning involves the removal of plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth and gums. While the process is generally painless, it can lead to temporary discomfort and sensitivity for several reasons:

  1. Gum Inflammation: During the cleaning process, dental hygienists use special tools to remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline. This can cause mild irritation and inflammation of the gums.
  2. Tooth Sensitivity: If you already have sensitive teeth, the removal of plaque and tartar can temporarily exacerbate this sensitivity.
  3. Tooth Polishing: After plaque removal, teeth are often polished to remove surface stains. This process can lead to some temporary sensitivity.
  4. Scaling and Root Planing: In cases of advanced gum disease, a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing may be performed. This can cause more discomfort than a routine cleaning.

Ways To Relieve Pain & Discomfort After Teeth Cleaning

Regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings are essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. While teeth cleaning procedures are generally painless, some individuals may experience discomfort or sensitivity afterward. If you’ve recently had your teeth cleaned and are looking for ways to relieve any discomfort, these valuable tips and remedies to help you feel more comfortable.

Rinse with Warm Salt Water

Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water is one of the easiest and most effective ways to relieve pain and discomfort after a teeth cleaning. Saltwater helps reduce inflammation and acts as a natural antiseptic, promoting healing.

Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, swish it around your mouth gently for 30 seconds, and then spit it out. Repeat this several times a day as needed.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be helpful in managing post-teeth cleaning discomfort. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage instructions on the packaging and consult with your dentist or healthcare provider if you have any concerns about using these medications.

Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress to the outside of your cheek can help reduce inflammation and numb the area. Wrap a small ice pack or a bag of frozen peas in a thin cloth and hold it against your cheek for 15-20 minutes.

Make sure to take breaks to avoid frostbite or skin irritation.

Avoid Hot and Cold Foods

After a teeth cleaning, your teeth may be more sensitive to temperature extremes. To minimize discomfort, avoid consuming extremely hot or cold foods and beverages for the first few days.

Opt for lukewarm or room-temperature items instead.

Soft Diet

Eating soft, non-irritating foods can help prevent further discomfort. Stick to a diet of mashed potatoes, yogurt, pudding, oatmeal, and smoothies for a day or two. Avoid crunchy, spicy, or acidic foods that may irritate your gums or teeth.

Proper Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial after a teeth cleaning. Be gentle when brushing your teeth and use a soft-bristle toothbrush to avoid causing additional irritation. Continue to floss regularly, but do so gently to avoid any damage to sensitive gums.

Fluoride Products

Using fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwash recommended by your dentist can help strengthen your teeth and reduce sensitivity. These products can help replenish lost minerals from the cleaning process.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, as this can help flush out any lingering debris or bacteria in your mouth. Hydration also supports the healing process and reduces the risk of infection.

Give It Time

It’s normal to experience some mild discomfort for a day or two after a teeth cleaning. In most cases, the pain should subside naturally. If the pain persists or worsens, contact your dentist, as it could be a sign of an underlying issue.

When to Seek Professional Help

While some discomfort is normal after teeth cleaning, if you experience severe or persistent pain, it’s essential to consult your dentist. This could be a sign of an underlying issue that needs attention, such as a cavity or gum disease.


Teeth cleaning is a fundamental part of maintaining good oral health. While it may cause some temporary discomfort, there are various ways to relieve pain and minimize any post-cleaning sensitivity.

By following the tips and advice provided in this guide, you can ensure a more comfortable recovery and continue to enjoy a healthy smile. Remember that if you have any concerns about post-cleaning pain, your dentist is your best resource for guidance and assistance.

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