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Brian LeSage, DDS, FAGD, FAACD

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Painful deep cleanings and deep pockets that won’t go away

Before my hygienist did a deep cleaning two years ago, I had a one-year plan to get porcelain veneers. My plan failed because, since the cleaning, I have deep pockets that do not heal. I’ve switched dentists since then, but I still have pockets in my gums. My teeth are so painful and sensitive that I canceled my last cleaning appointment. I didn’t have any significant problems with my teeth before the deep cleaning. I want porcelain veneers to close a front gap and make my teeth look uniform, but my teeth were healthy. I was advised to ensure my teeth and gums were healthy before I received porcelain veneers. So, the hygienist did a deep cleaning, and now my mouth is ruined. Who can help me? Thank you very much. Kanai


Thanks for your inquiry. You have aggressive gum disease that the team at your dentist’s office is not controlling well.

Is a Deep Dental Cleaning Painful?

When a dental professional completes a deep cleaning correctly, it can be painful. A local anesthetic is used to numb your gums. When gums are inflamed or infected, it requires cleaning your teeth to where teeth and gums attach. After the cleaning, you might have some swelling and minor bleeding.

What’s Causing Your Tooth Sensitivity and Pain?

The tooth sensitivity and pain you describe have a source other than deep cleaning. You probably have an aggressive infection. Sometimes, deep cleaning can provoke an existing infection, and based on your description, you probably have a flareup.

What can a dentist do to help?

  • Antibacterial agents can help.
  • A dentist might prescribe antibiotics while you have deep cleaning appointments.
  • Your dentist can schedule four or more appointments, if needed, within two or three weeks.

When Your Dentist Can’t Control Your Gum Disease

When a dentist can’t control your gum disease, we recommend that you find another dentist. The problems you describe are appropriate for a periodontist (gum specialist) to evaluate. Although your teeth and gums might have been healthy in the past, you now have a severe gum disease that must be treated to prevent tooth loss.

Talk to the periodontist about:

  • Your oral health history
  • Your experiences with your previous dentists and the type of pain you feel
  • Your goal for a smile makeover with porcelain veneers. Although it might take some time to realize that goal, the periodontist will explain when you can expect to reach it.
A single porcelain veneer held by dental forceps

Healthy gums contribute to healthy porcelain veneers

As you get closer to restoring your oral health, look for advanced cosmetic dentists, and schedule two consultations. A highly trained and experienced cosmetic dentist will design a smile with veneers and ensure it is healthy. They will bond your veneers without irritating your teeth or gums. When your periodontal treatment is complete, you will have already found a dentist to complete your smile makeover.

Best wishes for a steady recovery.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Brian LeSage, an accredited Fellow of cosmetic dentistry in Beverly Hills.

Painful deep cleanings and deep pockets that won’t go away

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– Thích Nhất Hạnh

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