3 Tips To Make Your Dental Cleanings Less Painful

To maintain a high level of dental health, it is important that you schedule regular dental cleanings. Biannual dental cleanings are appropriate for most patients, though your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings if you are prone to developing cavities or suffer from gum irritation.

For some patients, a dental cleaning may be a painful appointment that they are tempted to skip. If you experience pain during your dental cleanings, here are a few things you can to make these appointments more comfortable.

1. Request That the Hygienist Use Some Type of Numbing Agent

Patients who find dental cleanings uncomfortable can request that the hygienist numb the area before the cleaning begins. An easy option to numb the area is to have the hygienist apply a topical numbing product to the mouth. 

If desired, you can also request a shot of local anesthetic, but many patients find that the topical numbing gel is sufficient. It also wears off more quickly than an anesthetic shot.

For some patients, nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) is a good alternative. Not only will nitrous oxide minimize any pain during your cleaning, but it can also help calm your nerves, ensuring that your cleaning is as relaxing as possible. Once your cleaning is over, the laughing gas is flushed from your system within minutes so that you can safely drive home.

2. Take Pain Medication Before Your Appointment

Another solution is to take pain management into your own hands. Take an anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen, about an hour before your appointment so that it has time to take effect before your cleaning begins. Most patients who utilize this option take between 600 and 800 milligrams. Not only is this pain reduction solution easy and widely available, but it is also affordable.

Some patients experience pain after their cleanings as well. If you fall into this category, take another dosage six hours after your initial dose to keep inflammation and pain at bay.

3. Regularly Brush and Floss Your Teeth Between Appointments

One of the most effective things you can do to make your dental cleanings more comfortable is to regularly brush and floss your teeth between your dental appointments. If you neglect to brush or floss, this will make your gums and teeth more sensitive when it is time for your cleanings. Your gums simply are not used to being stimulated and will react accordingly.

Good dental hygiene also helps minimize the amount of tarter that your hygienist has to remove, shortening the length of your cleanings.