How to Relieve Pain After Teeth Cleaning

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Understanding Post-Cleaning Sensitivity

Why Does Teeth Cleaning Cause Discomfort?

Teeth cleaning, although beneficial for oral health, can sometimes lead to temporary discomfort or sensitivity. This usually occurs due to the removal of plaque and tartar, which exposes parts of your teeth that were previously covered.

Common Symptoms After Teeth Cleaning

Post-cleaning symptoms can include sensitivity to hot and cold, gum soreness, and a mild throbbing sensation in the teeth. These symptoms are generally short-lived and manageable.

Immediate Relief Strategies

Immediate Relief Strategies

Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress to the outside of your cheek can reduce inflammation and numb discomfort. Use it for 15 minutes at a time, ensuring you don’t apply ice directly to your skin.

Saltwater Rinse

A saltwater rinse can help reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and gently swish it in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

For acute pain, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can provide relief. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult with your dentist if pain persists.

Long-Term Management

Desensitizing Toothpaste

Desensitizing toothpaste contains compounds that help block the transmission of pain signals from the surface of your tooth to the nerve. Regular use can gradually reduce sensitivity.

Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush can prevent further irritation to your gums and teeth. It’s gentle on the enamel and effective in cleaning.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, making your teeth less susceptible to sensitivity. Ask your dentist about fluoride treatments or products.

Dietary Adjustments

Avoid Hot and Cold Foods

After teeth cleaning, it’s advisable to avoid foods and beverages that are extremely hot or cold. Your teeth might be more sensitive to temperature changes, causing discomfort.

Soft Foods

Eating soft foods like yogurt, soup, and mashed potatoes can prevent aggravation of any existing sensitivity or soreness. Avoid crunchy or hard foods for a few days.

Limit Acidic Foods and Beverages

Acidic foods and drinks can exacerbate tooth sensitivity. Limit your intake of citrus fruits, tomatoes, and carbonated beverages.

Oral Hygiene Practices

Regular Brushing and Flossing

Maintain a regular oral hygiene routine with gentle brushing and flossing. This helps keep your teeth and gums healthy and can reduce sensitivity over time.

Avoid Overbrushing

Brushing too hard can wear down your enamel and irritate your gums. Use gentle strokes and avoid aggressive brushing.

Regular Dental Checkups

Regular checkups allow your dentist to monitor your oral health and address any issues that may cause or worsen sensitivity.

Alternative Remedies

Herbal Teas

Certain herbal teas, like chamomile, have anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated gums. Ensure the tea is warm, not hot.

Clove Oil

Clove oil is known for its pain-relieving properties. Apply a small amount to a cotton ball and dab it on the affected area. However, use it sparingly as it can be quite potent.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera can help soothe and heal irritated gums. Use aloe vera gel designed for oral use and apply it gently to your gums.

Understanding the Causes of Sensitivity

Causes of Sensitivity

Enamel Wear

Over time, the enamel on your teeth can wear down, leading to increased sensitivity. This can be exacerbated by certain habits like teeth grinding.

Gum Recession

Gum recession can expose the roots of your teeth, which are more sensitive than the enamel-covered parts. Good oral hygiene can help prevent gum recession.

When to See Your Dentist

Persistent Pain

If your discomfort or sensitivity persists for more than a few days, it’s important to see your dentist. They can determine if there’s a more serious underlying issue.

Increased Sensitivity

If your teeth become increasingly sensitive over time, it could indicate other dental problems like cavities or gum disease.

Preventive Care

Regular dental visits are crucial for preventing problems that can cause sensitivity. Your dentist can provide advice and treatment tailored to your specific needs.


Dealing with sensitivity and discomfort after teeth cleaning is common, but manageable. By following these tips and maintaining good oral hygiene, you can alleviate pain and protect your dental health.

Dr. Mary G. Trice

About Dr. Mary

Dr. Mary G. Trice is a renowned pedodontist based in Queens, NY. With an unwavering dedication to children's dental health. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Trice is the writer and manager behind the informative platform Through this site, she offers valuable insights, tips, and resources for parents and guardians, aiming to bridge the gap between professional dental care and everyday oral hygiene practices at home.