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Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive After a Cleaning?

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Dental hygiene has always been an essential aspect of healthy living. Regular cleanings are necessary to help keep your teeth and gums in good condition. However, some people experience minor sensitivity in their teeth after a dental cleaning. This sensitivity can be uncomfortable and irritating—and can also have many causes. 

Sensitivity can be a result of scaling, gum irritation, enamel wear, or tooth decay. The team at Arch Dental Centres can help you avoid and manage tooth sensitivity with dental care, but you can also prevent tooth sensitivity by practicing good oral hygiene habits all year—so when it’s time for your 6-month dental exam, your teeth are healthy and you’re prepared for your cleaning.

Potential Causes of Tooth Sensitivity After Your Dental Cleaning

Dental cleanings are essential for maintaining oral health, but after a cleaning, it’s not uncommon to experience some sensitivity in your mouth as a result of scaling, gum irritation, enamel wear, or tooth decay.


Scaling is an essential part of dental cleanings that can help prevent gum disease by removing plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and gum line. During this step in your cleaning, your dental hygienist uses a scaler, a specialized dental tool, to scrape off plaque and tartar.

The removal of tartar and plaque buildup on your teeth can lead to temporary sensitivity, particularly along the gum line, which may be sensitive to foods like cold and hot drinks after scaling.

Gum Irritation

Cleaning teeth near your gum line may cause some inflammation of the gum tissue, which can lead to sensitivity. However, this irritation should only be temporary and usually subsides in the days following your appointment.

Enamel Wear

Enamel wear is another reason why teeth can become sensitive after a cleaning. Enamel is the firm, outermost layer of a tooth that protects the inner layers of nerves and blood vessels—also known as your dentin—from exposure.

However, if your enamel wears down between cleanings, it can heighten the sensitivity of your teeth. This can cause a painful sensation during a cleaning and when eating or drinking hot or cold foods. During your cleaning, we can check your teeth for enamel wear and recommend solutions to help protect your teeth, such as dental veneers.


If you have cavities, your teeth may be more sensitive during and after cleaning due to the removal of bacteria. A cleaning can expose the decaying area around a cavity, leading to sensitivity.

We can detect signs of cavities and tooth decay that may be causing tooth sensitivity during your exam, including cavities between teeth, and recommend treatments to help address tooth decay and reduce the sensitivity it can cause.

How to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity After a Cleaning

There are a number of things that can help reduce the potential discomfort caused by teeth sensitivity after your visit for a dental cleaning.

Avoid Acidic Foods and Drinks

Nutrition is always an important factor for dental health. After a cleaning, avoid acidic foods and drinks for the first few days. Foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, soda, and coffee can cause the enamel on your teeth to weaken, making them more sensitive.

Use Fluoride Toothpaste & Mouthwash

Fluoride can help to strengthen your tooth enamel, which can reduce sensitivity. After your dental cleaning, your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment to help strengthen your teeth, or they may recommend a specific toothpaste for managing sensitivity.

Using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash in your at-home dental care routine can also help prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth and forming plaque and tartar buildup.

Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

After your dental cleaning, it’s important to keep your teeth clean by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. However, using a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause further irritation and sensitivity. Instead, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and be gentle when brushing your teeth to avoid further irritation.

Can Over-the-Counter Pain Medication Help with Tooth Sensitivity?

In some cases, such as when sensitivity and pain are caused by swelling in your gums, some medications may help reduce swelling to relieve pain. However, if you’re experiencing severe pain and sensitivity following a dental procedure, it’s important to speak with your dentist to determine what’s causing that problem and how to take the right steps for managing pain and seeking relief.

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Speak with Your Dentist About Tooth Sensitivity

One of the keys to reducing sensitivity after a dental cleaning is to take care of your teeth consistently. Proper oral care can help prevent tooth damage and promote long-term oral health. For ongoing sensitivity, speaking with a dentist is often the first step toward relief.

Book an appointment at Arch Dental Centres and talk to our team for personalized recommendations to help reduce teeth sensitivity.

Written by Arch Dental

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