Dental calculus, a yellowish or brownish hardened substance, accumulates on the surface of teeth and along the gum line. Unlike plaque, dental calculus cannot be easily removed with a toothbrush or dental floss. This is because dental calculus is mineralized and has a hard structure. Dental calculus usually accumulates just below or above the gum line and can lead to gum diseases over time.
What is Dental Calculus?
Dental calculus, also known as tartar, is a mineralized plaque buildup on the surface of teeth. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on teeth when bacteria in the mouth combine with food particles and saliva. If plaque is not regularly and effectively removed, it can combine with minerals in saliva over time to form dental calculus.
Why Does Dental Calculus Form?
Factors contributing to the formation of dental calculus include:
Poor oral hygiene: Failure to brush teeth regularly, neglecting to clean between teeth, and inadequate use of dental floss can increase plaque buildup and trigger dental calculus formation.
Structural characteristics of teeth: Some individuals may be more prone to plaque accumulation. The shape, structure, and alignment of teeth can affect plaque formation and dental calculus buildup.
Smoking: Smoking can contribute to increased plaque accumulation and dental calculus formation. Individuals who smoke may be more susceptible to dental calculus.
Dietary habits: Consuming sugary and acidic foods and beverages can promote bacterial plaque formation. Excessive sugar intake and frequent consumption of acidic drinks can increase the formation of dental calculus.
Age and hormones: Hormonal changes, particularly during pregnancy or menopause, can lead to gum sensitivity and increased plaque accumulation, which can contribute to dental calculus formation.
It is important to maintain regular and effective oral hygiene practices to prevent dental calculus formation. This includes brushing teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting a dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups.
What Are The Harms Of Dental Calculus?
Dental calculus can cause various harms and complications to oral health. Here are the potential risks of dental calculus:
Gum diseases: Dental calculus can trigger the development of gum diseases (gingivitis and periodontitis) that are associated with plaque buildup. Gum diseases can lead to symptoms such as redness, swelling, bleeding gums, gum recession, and tooth loss.
Tooth decay: Dental calculus promotes plaque formation on tooth surfaces, which can lead to tooth decay. The presence of dental calculus between teeth encourages bacterial accumulation in areas where toothbrushes and dental floss may not reach.
Bad breath: Dental calculus contributes to the buildup and proliferation of oral bacteria, which can cause bad breath (halitosis). Bacteria break down food particles, resulting in the production of volatile sulfur compounds and worsened oral odor.
Tooth discoloration: Dental calculus accumulation can cause teeth to appear yellow, brown, or black, affecting the natural whiteness of teeth and resulting in an aesthetically displeasing appearance.
Tooth sensitivity: Dental calculus can erode tooth enamel and expose the tooth roots, leading to increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages.
Damage to tooth structure: Prolonged accumulation of dental calculus can lead to the formation of cracks or cavities on teeth, causing damage to the tooth structure. This may require dental restoration or treatment.
It is important to practice good oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings, to prevent or minimize the risks associated with dental calculus.
How To Prevent Tartar Formation?
To prevent the formation of dental calculus, you can take the following precautions:
Regular and proper brushing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using the correct brushing technique. Pay attention to all surfaces of your teeth and your gumline. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and consider using mouthwash along with toothpaste.
Flossing: Using dental floss is important for cleaning plaque and food particles between your teeth. Clean between your teeth daily using dental floss. Flossing helps reduce dental calculus formation.
Dental check-ups: It is important to visit your dentist regularly and undergo periodic examinations. Your dentist can check for dental calculus buildup, perform professional cleanings, and evaluate your gum health. Do not skip your dental appointments as recommended by your dentist.
Healthy eating: Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is important for oral health. Limit the consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages. Drinking plenty of water increases saliva flow in the mouth, which helps reduce plaque formation.
Learn proper oral hygiene techniques: It is important to learn correct cleaning methods such as brushing and flossing. Consult your dentist or dental hygienist to learn and apply proper cleaning techniques.
Limit smoking and alcohol consumption: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can increase the formation of dental calculus. Therefore, limiting or quitting smoking and alcohol use is important for oral health.
By following these preventive measures, you can reduce the risk of dental calculus formation and maintain good oral hygiene.
Does Tartar Cause Bad Breath?
Tartar provides an environment where bacteria and food debris accumulate, which can lead to bad breath. Bacteria can break down food remnants and produce sulfur compounds, which contribute to the formation of unpleasant odors that cause bad breath.
How Is Tartar Removal Done?
Tartar removal generally follows a process that includes the following steps:
Examination: A dentist or dental hygienist evaluates your oral health by examining your teeth and gums. They check for tartar buildup and plan the appropriate treatment.
Tartar and plaque cleaning: Using specialized tools such as ultrasonic instruments, scalers, and hand instruments, a dentist or dental hygienist cleans the accumulated tartar and plaque from your teeth. The tooth surfaces and gumline are carefully cleaned.
Smoothing the tooth surfaces: Necessary corrections may be made on the tooth surfaces to ensure thorough cleaning and smoothness. This helps reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar, preventing future tartar formation.
Gum treatment: If tartar buildup has caused inflammation or disease in the gums, the dentist or dental hygienist may perform necessary treatments. These treatments may include cleaning the gum pockets (scaling), smoothing the root surfaces (root planing), and the use of antibacterial agents.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Tartar Removal?
Tartar removal is generally a beneficial procedure for dental health and has minimal risks. Tartar is a mineralized layer that forms when plaque buildup hardens. Tartar can increase the formation of plaque, which is a bacterial accumulation that can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Tartar removal involves the removal of tartar by a skilled dentist or dental hygienist.
However, tartar removal may carry some risks in certain cases. It can cause irritation, bleeding, or sensitivity in individuals with sensitive gums, especially if the procedure is not performed carefully. Additionally, improper use of instruments or excessive force during tartar removal can result in tooth scratches or enamel wear. Therefore, tartar removal should be carried out by a professional and experienced oral healthcare provider.
What Are the Prices for Tartar Removal?
The prices for tartar removal can vary depending on various factors. These factors include the country or city you live in, the experience of the dentist, the location of the clinic, treatment requirements, and other additional services. Therefore, prices can vary significantly.
In general, the prices for tartar removal are determined to include a comprehensive dental examination and cleaning procedure. This cleaning procedure is usually performed using ultrasonic devices or hand instruments on the gums.