Does dental deep cleaning hurt?

Dental deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, is a procedure that involves removing plaque, tartar, and bacteria from below the gum line. It is a common treatment for gum disease, which is an infection of the gums that can damage the soft tissues and bones that support the teeth.

While dental deep cleaning is an effective treatment for gum disease, many individuals fear the procedure due to concerns about pain and discomfort. Understanding the potential for pain and the available options for managing it can help individuals make informed decisions about their oral health care.

Factors Affecting Pain During Dental Deep Cleaning

The level of pain or discomfort experienced during dental deep cleaning depends on several factors, including:

  • Severity of Gum Disease: In cases of advanced gum disease, where pockets between the gums and teeth are deep, there may be increased sensitivity and discomfort during the procedure.

  • Individual Pain Tolerance: Pain perception varies among individuals, and some may experience more sensitivity than others.

  • Technique Used: The dentist’s technique and the use of appropriate anesthesia can significantly impact patient comfort.

Managing Pain and Discomfort

To minimize pain and discomfort during dental deep cleaning, dentists typically employ various techniques, including:

  • Local Anesthesia: Local anesthesia involves injecting numbing medication into the gums to block pain signals. This is the most common method of pain management during deep cleaning.

  • Topical Anesthetics: In some cases, topical anesthetics, such as gels or sprays, may be applied to the gums to reduce surface sensitivity.

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed before or after the procedure to reduce infection and inflammation, which can contribute to discomfort.

Post-Treatment Sensitivity

Some sensitivity or soreness is common after dental deep cleaning due to the removal of plaque and tartar from deep pockets. This typically subsides within a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs can help manage any discomfort.


Dental deep cleaning, while sometimes uncomfortable, is an essential treatment for gum disease and can significantly improve oral health. With the use of appropriate anesthesia and pain management techniques, most individuals can experience the procedure with minimal discomfort. If you are concerned about pain or have a low pain tolerance, discuss your concerns with your dentist to determine the most suitable approach for you. Please find the dental office near you in these locations: Attleboro, Chelmsford, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Lynn, Manchester, Methuen, Roslindale, Taunton.

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