Does teeth cleaning hurt?

Teeth cleaning is a fundamental part of oral care and is regularly recommended by dentists to maintain good oral health. However, some people may feel anxious or worried about the idea of having their teeth cleaned due to fear of pain. In this article we will learn in detail whether or not teeth cleaning hurts and what to expect during this common procedure at the dentist's office.

What is a dental cleaning?

Before addressing the issue of pain, it is important to understand what a dental cleaning is. A dental cleaning, also known as a dental prophylaxis, is a procedure performed by a dental hygienist or dentist to remove plaque, tartar and stains from the teeth. Plaque and tartar are accumulations of bacteria and minerals that can lead to problems such as cavities, gum disease and even tooth loss if not properly controlled.

How is a dental cleaning performed?

Teeth cleaning is generally a simple procedure performed in the dentist's office. Typical steps of the procedure are described below:

  1. Initial evaluation: The dental hygienist or dentist will examine your teeth and gums to assess your oral health and determine if there are any problems that require additional attention.
  2. Plaque and tartar removal: The professional will use special tools, such as scalers and curettes, to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. This part of the procedure may cause some discomfort, but it is usually not painful.
  3. Cleaning with abrasive paste: After the plaque and tartar are removed, a deeper cleaning will be performed using an abrasive toothpaste and a rotating tool. This part of the procedure may make some noise and generate a vibrating sensation in your teeth, but it should not be painful.
  4. Rinsing and waste disposal: Once the cleaning with the abrasive paste is complete, you will be asked to rinse your mouth to remove the residue. The professional will also use water and a vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining residue.
  5. Application of fluoride: In some cases, the dental hygienist or dentist may apply fluoride gel or foam to help strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities from forming.
  6. Recommendations and follow-up: Finally, the professional will provide you with oral home care recommendations and schedule your next dental cleaning appointment, which is usually every six months.

Does it hurt to have my teeth cleaned?

Most people experience little or no pain during a dental cleaning. However, some sensations may be uncomfortable or create some sensitivity. The following are some of the possible sensations you may experience during the procedure:


During dental cleaning, especially when removing tartar near the gums, you may feel some sensitivity. This is because your gums may be swollen or tender, causing a mild response to contact with dental tools. The dental hygienist or dentist will do everything possible to keep you comfortable and may use techniques to reduce sensitivity, such as applying fluoride gel or using local anesthesia if necessary.

Vibration and discomfort

Cleaning with abrasive paste and rotating tools can generate a vibrating sensation in the teeth. Some people may find this uncomfortable, but it is generally not painful. If you feel any discomfort, do not hesitate to tell the professional so that they can adjust the intensity or speed of the tools.

Water dripping

During the cleaning, the dental hygienist or dentist will use water to rinse and remove debris. You may experience some water dripping during the procedure, which may be surprising, but should not cause pain.

Feeling of pressure

In some cases, especially when removing more adherent tartar, you may feel a slight pressure on your teeth and gums. This is normal and part of the cleaning process.

In conclusion, dental cleaning is an important and necessary procedure to maintain good oral health. Although some sensations during the procedure may be uncomfortable, in general, teeth cleaning should not be painful. Most people find that the benefits of a dental cleaning far outweigh any temporary discomfort they may experience. If you have specific concerns about teeth cleaning or experience extreme sensitivity, don't hesitate to talk to your dental hygienist or dentist so they can tailor the procedure to your needs and provide you with maximum comfort during the process.

Make an appointment at our clinics in the Horseshoe y Gabias. We are specialists in all types of dental treatments.