Patient Questions

How long do teeth hurt after scaling?

The length of time a patient experiences discomfort after scaling depends on the following factors:

  • Your level of gum recession
  • Types of food are in your diet
  • Your hygienist’s hand skills
  • Scaling tool used: hand scaling vs. cavitron vs. piezo vs. airflow.

The root surface is more sensitive than enamel; the more exposed the root surface, the more sensitivity and pain you will experience. Avoid acidic food groups, such as wine, limes, lemons, and citrus. Any food with a pH of less than 6.5 can cause sensitivity and pain, however, the lower the pH, the worse it will be. Some hygienists may be more heavy-handed than others. Airflow therapy by Hu-Friedy can soften the hard calculus, making it easier to remove, therefore less trauma to the root surface and less pain.

Dr. David Cheng

A practicing dentist with over 30 years of experience and more than 3500 hours of continuing studies. He lives in both Toronto, Canada and Seattle, WA. Besides writing for this website, he practices dentistry in different clinics in Canada and mentors other dentists in the USA and Canada.

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