For most people, getting a dental cleaning is no big deal. You sit there for a while with your mouth open, and before you know it, the process is done. But if you go into the treatment with concerns or you experience one of these issues during your cleaning, you should alert your dentist immediately.
If You Experience Pain
Dental cleanings shouldn't hurt! Especially since the invention of the ultrasonic scaler, the vast majority of dental cleanings should be a normal or even pleasant experience. Your teeth will have their tartar removed, and will be gently polished and cleaned. That's all that should happen, so if you're experiencing pain, it likely means that there's an issue with your teeth or gums.
This is especially important to bring up if you're not getting dental x-rays. Sometimes issues are developing under the surface that aren't visible to the naked eye, but you're able to feel them because you have nerve endings inside your teeth. The only way to give your dentist a clue here is to let them know what you're feeling, so communicate.
If You Experience Sensitivity
Another issue you could experience during a dental cleaning is sensitivity. Most people already know that they have sensitive teeth going into a dental cleaning, as the symptoms tend to impact one's day-to-day life. However, if the sensitivity starts while you're in the dentist's chair, that may indicate a problem.
Some people go through this because their teeth are badly coated in plaque and/or tartar when they come in for a cleaning. This layer of gunk is bad for your teeth, but it can also provide an extra layer between your teeth and stuff coming into contact with them, like cold and hot beverages. As a result, you may not feel the sensitivity until this layer is peeled away and your teeth stand on their own.
If You Have Special Needs
Finally, if you have specific needs going into a dental cleaning, make sure to speak up early on. For example, if you have difficulty keeping your mouth open or your neck becomes cramped easily, let your dentist know. They'll provide you with breaks that will help you to stretch and relax your jaw, which should reduce your risk of discomfort dramatically.
Other special needs can include things like dental anxiety, sensitivity to the noise of the dental cleaning tools, or even if you have trouble sitting still for long periods of time. Your dentist can't help you or make accommodations for you if you don't know that you have these concerns, so do your best to communicate.