Calculus or tartar is a hard, yellowish deposit on teeth. It is composed of mineral salts, food, and other debris that has hardened over time. Tartar cannot be brushed off. It has a rough surface, attracting more debris and food particles, causing a repeating cycle of tartar formation and buildup.
Periodontal disease is a disease of the tissues that support the teeth in the mouth. It occurs when the body’s immune system cannot clear the mouth of the bacteria and toxins. If plaque is not removed, it will eventually accumulate and harden into dental calculus (or tartar).
Calculus can become hard and yellow brownish covering over the crown of the tooth. Calculus can also cover the gum so that the plaque beneath the gum-line cannot be cleaned. The plaque beneath the gum-line is the real cause of periodontal disease. As the plaque accumulates and the bacteria multiply, the pockets around each tooth become deeper and more painful.
Calculus comes in two forms. Supragingival (above the gumline) calculus is the visible deposit that forms on the surface of the teeth. Subgingival (below the gumline) tartar forms in pockets between teeth and gums. Subgingival calculus is more harmful as it facilitates faster growth of plaque.
What Causes Tartar Buildup?
When plaque accumulates at excessive levels, it hardens and turns into tartar buildup. Because tartar buildup bonds strongly to enamel, it can only be removed by a dental professional.
How Do You Know if You Have Tartar Buildup?
Unlike plaque, which is a colorless film of bacteria, tartar is a mineral buildup that’s fairly easy to see if above the gumline. The most common sign of tartar is a yellow or brown color to teeth or gums. The only way for sure to detect tartar – and to remove it – is to see your dentist.
Dental Calculus Removal Procedure
Dental health is an important part of your general health. Whatever your age, you can and should have healthy teeth. Correct dental care can help you keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime. Scaling is one such procedure that keeps your gums healthy and firm. It is a procedure used to remove infected deposits like plaque, calculus and stains from the tooth surfaces. Scaling is a safe and routine procedure and does not damage the tooth surface in any way. It must be done by a dental professional.
Dental Technicians are only allowed to remove supragingival calculus. Supragingival calculus is defined as calculus above the gumline. Subgingival calculus removal and root planing are only to be performed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Scaling the teeth removes calculus by mechanically fracturing the deposits off each tooth. It is relatively simple to remove large deposits of supragingival calculus, but removing the smaller pieces that are left behind when the larger pieces fracture off takes practice to ensure the tooth surface is calculus-free.