Why are My Teeth Sensitive after a Teeth Cleaning?

If your teeth feel sensitive after you have them cleaned at the dentist, this article is for you.  Many people experience this phenomenon, and it can make some avoid having professional teeth cleanings.  This is a dangerous trade-off, that could allow dental disease to worsen.

We will help you understand why your teeth may be sensitive after a cleaning, and what you can do about it!

Why Does a Teeth Cleaning Make my Teeth Sensitive?

Buildup on the teeth is not good.  It holds the bacteria responsible for causing cavities and gum disease.  The more buildup you have on your teeth, the higher your risk is for these dental diseases.

One unusual thing that buildup does is act as an insulator.  When there is a lot of plaque and tartar accumulation on the teeth, that covering insulates the teeth from sensations of hot, cold or sweets.  It’s like your teeth are wearing a warm (and fuzzy) sweater.

When your dental hygienist cleans your teeth, he or she removes all of the buildup from the teeth.  This is essential to maintaining great oral health.  Unfortunately, it also removes that insulation, like taking off a sweater.  After a teeth cleaning, your teeth may be able to feel sensations of hot, cold, and sweets more profoundly.

This effect is especially pronounced when someone has gum recession that exposes the roots of the teeth.  Roots do not have enamel coating them, so they have less natural insulation to begin with.

How Can I Prevent this Sensitivity?

One way to prevent this type of sensitivity is to keep your teeth as clean as possible between professional cleanings.  If you never “put on” that insulating buildup, you will not feel the effects of having it taken off.  By performing consistent and effective brushing and flossing, you stop the plaque and tartar buildup from ever collecting on the teeth.

You can also fight sensitivity with oral care products, like Sensodyne toothpaste or a fluoride mouthrinse.  These products work to reduce sensitivity by calming the nerve inside the teeth and strengthening the outer layers of tooth structure.  Look for ingredients such as potassium nitrate and stannous fluoride.  Those are powerful sensitivity fighters.

It is best to use these products for a minimum of two weeks prior to your dental visit for the best effect.

How Can I Manage this Sensitivity after It Occurs?

If your teeth are sensitive during and after a professional teeth cleaning, talk to your dentist and dental hygienist.  We have wonderful dental materials that we can use to help reduce your sensitivity from the teeth cleaning.

We may recommend a professional fluoride treatment, which includes the application of a varnish containing a high concentration of slow-release fluoride.  Areas with severe sensitivity may require stronger materials, like silver diamond fluoride.  The goal is to slow down or block the sensations of cold from reaching the nerves inside your teeth.

Heavy forces of clenching or grinding can also aggravate teeth sensitivity.  Dr. Chowning will advise you of any signs he sees of this subconscious habit.  If you are clenching or grinding your teeth during sleep, chances are that you will have trouble managing sensitivity.  By adding a protective mouthguard to separate your teeth and reduce those heavy biting forces, you can calm down the nerves in the teeth and fight sensitivity more effectively.

More Questions about Sensitive Teeth?

Call Timberlake Dental at 940-382-1750 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He can answer any question you have about sensitive teeth, assess your specific areas of sensitivity, and recommend products and tactics for reducing that sensitivity.  Our gentle dental hygienists will make sure that your teeth receive the care necessary to maintain great oral health, despite the sensitivity.