Can Dental Cleaning Damage Teeth?

By: Spirit Dental
November 19, 2020

man getting dental cleaning on his teeth

Getting your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis, such as once or twice a year, is highly recommended. But you already knew that, right?

And you’ve no doubt heard about the many benefits that can come from a cleaning at your dentist’s office. This simple procedure can thoroughly remove plaque and tartar -- in fact, you can only remove tartar with a professional cleaning, as you can’t brush it off at home! Plus, it can help you keep your gums healthy, clean, and strong.

Yet, there are some rumors out there, claiming that dental cleanings might damage your pearly whites. Is that true? We get to the bottom of this question below so you can rest assured you’re making the right decisions to keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

A Concern About Enamel

Keeping your enamel intact is a key component to maintaining healthy teeth, as it’s the protective layer on the outside of every tooth. But some people are concerned that the scraping that happens during a dental cleaning might be able to wear away the enamel, making teeth more prone to damage and decay. Valid argument?

Thankfully, no. Even the scraping that occurs during a dental cleaning, when done by a professional, will not adversely affect the enamel on your chompers.

The scraping that you hear and feel during your cleaning is nothing more than the hygienist using a special tool to remove plaque and tartar that have accumulated on your teeth. Once all of that nasty stuff is removed from the surface, your teeth will feel smoother.

What’s That Sensitivity About?

Some people are also concerned about the effects of dental cleanings because they tend to experience tooth sensitivity afterwards. But, again, this is nothing to worry about, and it’s totally normal and temporary.

What causes your pearly whites to be a little more sensitive than usual after a cleaning? Well, it basically has to do with the removal of tartar using special tools. Areas that used to be covered by a lot of tartar and plaque might be more exposed and, therefore, more sensitive after everything has been scraped off. And your gums might even be sensitive and bleed a bit as a result of the tools that are used during the cleaning.  

Also, if you require a longer cleaning, a deeper cleaning, or multiple cleanings because of a lot of tartar along the gum line, your mouth might be even more sensitive and sore as a result. This, too, is usually considered normal and temporary.

Tip: Talk to your dentist if you experience sensitivity after a dental cleaning, and be gentle at home while brushing so you can help your gums heal. If your teeth and/or gums are still sensitive days or weeks after a cleaning, your dentist can figure out why, so let him or her know about your symptoms and how long they last.

Deep Cleaning the Gums: It Also Won’t Damage Teeth

What if your dentist tells you that you need to undergo a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing? Will this do any harm to your teeth? Again, the answer is simple: no.

Scaling and root planing is recommended to patients who have been diagnosed with gum disease. Basically, plaque and tartar are scraped off the surface of teeth, like during a standard cleaning, but the hygienist will also go ahead and clean beneath the gum line too. That’s followed by root planing, which involves smoothing out the roots of the teeth so your gums can heal and reattach themselves to your chompers.   

As you can imagine, you might have some pain and sensitivity after this type of cleaning, but it doesn’t mean any damage was done. Your mouth just needs to heal, and your dentist can give you tips on how to take care of your teeth and gums until they’re all better.

Trust Your Dental Hygienist!

A professional hygienist knows how to properly perform scaling and polishing during a dental cleaning. This common procedure shouldn’t cause any damage to your teeth or gums. So don’t worry, and be sure to schedule those appointments for cleanings and checkups to help keep your smile healthy and bright. 



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