Addressing the Rumors about Teeth Cleaning

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Written by Dr Amrita Jain

February 4, 2021

Often, we stop questioning hearsay. A story is forwarded to you on your messaging app—you believe it and forward it to another five people. Patients often come to the dental clinic with certain misconceptions about dental procedures. A few people also talk based on what they experience. But what is to be understood, is that teeth cleaning does far good than bad. Here are some popular misconceptions about teeth cleaning you must stop believing!

Teeth Cleaning causes ‘gaps’ between the teeth

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Scaling or teeth cleaning procedures are meant to remove the plaque and tartar build-up between your teeth to prevent any gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. If you haven’t had a cleaning done in a while, your plaque may have mineralised or hardened into yellowish-white calculus. When plaque or calculus is removed, the space where it used to be may seem like new ‘gaps’. Rest assured, your dentist is definitely not trying to alter the anatomy of your mouth!

Sensitivity after scaling

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This is a common one dentists often hear. When your teeth are cleaned, plaque or tartar and any other debris in your mouth are removed. This exposes new surfaces of your teeth to the air and may cause sensitivity. Complaints of sensitivity after the cleaning procedure is normal and usually goes away within a couple of days to 1 week. Your dentist will also prescribe you mouthwash or sensitivity toothpaste after the procedure.

Stripping away of the enamel

No, your dentist isn’t scraping away your enamel when they clean your teeth. Ultrasonic cleaning machines vibrate at frequencies that help displace any mineral deposits or tartar on your teeth. The water helps wash these away. Your dentist is simply scraping away the dirt and debris accumulated on the surfaces of your teeth.
This belief probably comes from people having experienced sensitivity after a teeth cleaning. As mentioned before, this goes away in a couple of days!

“Teeth cleaning caused my gums to bleed”

Teeth cleaning procedures are meant to remove the debris on your teeth that cause your gums to bleed. The build-up of debris beneath the gum line causes your gums to be irritated, inflamed. Gums being very delicate react to this irritation in the form of bleeding. This happens even when you brush your teeth or use dental floss. If your gums are bleeding, it just means that you needed a teeth cleaning! Once done, your gums will start healing and stop bleeding. It is, however, very common for your gums to bleed while the procedure is being done.

Loose teeth after teeth cleaning

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If you have an advanced form of gum disease like periodontitis, your gums have probably receded causing mobile or movable teeth. In certain cases, teeth are held together by mineral deposits or calculus. When this is removed during the procedure, it can make mobile teeth more obvious. Fret not—many dental procedures exist to help reduce the mobility of teeth if it isn’t severe. If it is, your dentist will recommend a treatment plan with dentures or implants- whatever is most suitable to you. It is impossible for teeth cleaning procedures to make your teeth ‘loose’.


Your dentist exists to help make your oral health better. If teeth cleaning procedures had any of the above side effects, dentists would simply not do them! Establish trust between yourself and your oral health provider by discussing your dental issue rationally. Ask as many questions as you need to, and listen with an open mind! 

Highlights

  • Teeth cleaning removes debris from in between your teeth—this empty space is misconstrued by patients as a ‘gap’ between the teeth.
  • Certain level of teeth sensitivity is normal after the teeth clean procedure. This usually goes away within 1-2 weeks.
  • Your enamel is NOT stripped away after teeth cleaning- the vibrations of the instrument only removes the tartar or calculus present on the tooth surface.
  • Bleeding gums during or after the cleaning procedure is common—it is a sign of gum disease, and is the first step to curing it!
  • It is impossible for procedures like these to make your teeth ‘loose’.

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1 Comment

  1. Dr Divyesh patel

    this is very well written article. if any one looking for teeth cleaning.t

    Reply

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Dr. Amrita Jain is a practicing dental surgeon since 4 years. She completed her B.D.S in 2016 and was has been a rank holder throughout her course. She suggests “Holistic dentistry is the best dentistry”. Her treatment line follows a conservative pattern which means saving a tooth is of utmost priority and preventing your teeth from getting decayed rather than curing it with a root canal treatment. She inculcates the same while consulting her patients. Apart from her interest in clinical practice, she has developed interest in research and writing over a period of time. She states “It is my clinical experience that motivates me to write and spread dental awareness”. Her articles are well researched with a combination of technical knowledge and clinical experience.
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