Not everyone SMILES when having their teeth cleaned!
Nothing costs more in the long run like neglect. This is why we promote regular dental re-care visits and cleanings so passionately. But for some people, cleanings are not exactly routine – they are painful!
A visit to the hygienist can be a real deal breaker when it comes to professional dental visits with some people avoiding cleanings at all costs. Technique is a learned skill. For some, it comes naturally, while for others it takes time to really hone their craft.
A good hygienist will be both thorough in their technique and gentle, but understand that dental scaling is often a tedious and time consuming process. The more build-up you have, the longer and more involved the procedure.
You can help predict your next cleaning experience by following some, if not all, of the following advice.
1. The more frequent you have your teeth cleaned professionally, the less buildup there will be and the less tender and sensitive your gums will be.
2. Good home oral hygiene (especially flossing) helps to reduce the tartar accumulation. Oftentimes, using an electric toothbrush will do a more thorough job.
3. Take an anti-inflammatory before and after your appointment to reduce any discomfort during and after the cleaning.
4. Ask if you can have topical numbing spray/gel or have your teeth frozen (anesthetic) during the cleaning.
5. If your teeth are sensitive or you have gum recession, try switching to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth to build up some resistance in the sensitive areas.
6. You can reduce the chance of sensitive gum recession by not wearing them away with harsh toothbrushes, toothpastes or scrubbing action.
7. If you can identify exactly what exactly causes you discomfort during the cleaning (water-sprayer, ultrasonic cleaner etc…), perhaps your hygienist can offer an alternative cleaning method.
8. If you have a lot of tartar buildup, break up the cleaning over 2 or more appointments
9. Sometimes, an earlier appointment in the day will help if you find yourself more fatigued as the day wears on. Worth a try!
10. Ask around. Like any professional skill, it takes time to hone your craft, so to speak. If you feel that you need to switch hygienists, perhaps the office employs more than one or ask your family and friends for a good recommendation.
11. A scolding, judgmental hygienist can also be a painful experience. Advice can be given in a compassionate tone without reducing it to a lecture. Never be intimidated to the point where you let this type of conduct go unanswered. Let the hygienist AND the dentist know how you feel.
12. Do not judge the quality of dental treatment based on the absence of pain afterwards. If it has been a long while since you’ve had your teeth cleaned last, a good, thorough cleaning can leave gums swollen and sore. Your hygienist will tell you what to expect after your cleaning and what you can do to relieve post-cleaning discomfort.
There’s a saying – “A toothbrush can’t remove 6 months worth of tartar 30 minutes before your dental appointment.” Our goal is to help you have the best patient experience possible. Being an engaged advocate for yourself and taking responsibility for a healthier you by using the techniques described above will go a long way in improving your future dental cleanings.