Usually it is not a symptom that one should worry about, since there is some minor trauma to the gingiva that can occur during a regular cleaning, especially if a patient has more than minimal tarter accumulation. The gingiva adjacent to tarter can be extremely inflamed and can be sore after tarter removal. This soreness should resolve after a day or two.
If an individual experiences soreness that doesn’t resolve in a couple of days they should call their dentist to have him observe the area experiencing soreness. On occasion, patients can have a periodontal abscess that can be caused by a piece of dislodged tarter or a flare up in a periodontally involved area. Also some patients can experience an outbreak of herpes after their cleaning (usually a recurrence possibly due to localized trauma).
For most patients the soreness resolves and their gums become less inflamed and appear healthier when examined one week after their cleaning. This occurs because most of the plaque causing the inflammation has been removed and the gingiva responds by becoming more healthy.