Calculus or Tooth Tartar Removal Procedure

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.

Tooth Tartar and Dental Calculus

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.

Click NEXT below to read more about tooth tartar removal procedure and professional cleaning

  • Hud

    Calculus is a major problem with the teeth. This article will definitely help people to get the solution.

    • MaidenCrow24 .

      I advise arm and hammer peroxicare toothpaste. I have a serious calculus build up and as painful as the process is to relieve the gums of the calculus, its very affective and in time the gums will get used to air exposure and with that toothpaste you don’t run the risk of further build up.

  • neha singh

    i want to get rid of tartar on back of my teeth plz recommend home remedy to remove it


    Neha Sigh, best home remedy for tartar is to brush your teeth assiduously. This helps in removing tooth tartar stuck in your teeth.

    – Make it a habit to brush your teeth every night.
    – Try to brush for more than about 2 to 4 minutes.
    – Your brush should have a small head as it is much easier to reach the difficult areas.
    – Use baking soda and a pinch of salt mixture as your paste.
    – Use soft and rounded bristles as it does not cause harm to your gums but is very effective in removing the bacteria.
    – An ayurvedic tartar remedy consisting two parts of powdered potassium alum and one part of powdered salt is very useful to minimize tartar and plaque.
    – You can make home-made lemon mouthwash which requires 1 cup water, 1/2 cup soda, 4 teaspoon vegetable glycerin, 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel and 10 drops of lemon essential oil. Mix these ingredients together, store them and use it daily to have clean set of teeth.
    – Try to floss daily as it keeps your teeth free from plaque and bacteria.
    – Avoid smoking too as it stains your teeth and damages your mouth too.
    – Tea tree oil helps in circulation and also kills germs.

    Also you can ask your dentist about what exactly you need. And be careful with these remedies.

  • Umer

    hello…i need some help…I have tartar on the back of my down front incissors, I had scaling 2 years ago…and then i tried to keep my teeth the best clean….I use Crest Whitening toothpaste, not the strips…Now, I dont know how, the tartar build up again on the back of my 4 teeth. I cant afford scaling now because my medical is not free….I need some home remedy to remove tartar….This tartar is really disturbing me….I heard that using hydrogen peroxide with baking soda helps to whiten…. I tried and it whitened my teeth the most as fluorescent white but and i got rid of plaque but the tartar………It didn’t help…..Pls…I need great help….Dont suggest me a dentist as I already told you what’s the problem….

  • Meghan

    To Umer–
    Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to completely keep all calculus away. I’m in school to be a Dental Hygienist and even while practicing cleaning teeth on each other, students who have immaculate oral hygiene, we all had a few small deposits to scale off.
    The bad news is, there really isn’t a way to get it off of your teeth without the sharp blades used in scaling.
    The good news is it’s something that can be done in a Dental clinic by a hygienist, not necessarily a Dentist. Even better news: There are students in Dental Hygiene schools that have to recruit their own patients and a whole mouth scaling at my school only costs 10 dollars. I’m not sure where you’re from, but at Shawnee State University in Ohio we’re always looking for new patients.

  • Sharon

    Does anyone know of a dental Hygiene school in FL?

  • Jack Christopher

    High doses of Vitamin D3 and K2-MK4 detonate tartar. But they don’t keep it off. You need the right diet.

    Humans aren’t supposed to get tartar and decay. We do because of the modern diet.

    This is a non-commercial site. His recommendations are working great for me:

  • Chris Morris

    Get yourself one of those metal dental scrapers dentists use, I bought a few off ebay, you can then carefully scrape away the tartar build up yourself, obviously it almost goes without saying you need to be very careful.

  • james

    I couldnt afford to have my teeth cleaned so I went to a college that had a dental hygene program and they scaled my teeth for free. It was awsome so if you live close to a college check it out

  • Hayden

    I live in Illinois and the local community college, COD Dental School, performed scaling and removed my Calculus for under $75. The school charges for materials only and $28 was for X-Rays.

  • chantique

    I hate my smile I have these white lines across my teeth that I was told is calculus. But now viewing this site I see thaqt calculus is brown….I hate my teeth. I didn’t practise good dental hygeine when I was younger and now my teeth aren’t white there creme with the white lines on the front ones. I would really like some advice on hw to get rid of them. Other that going to the dentist. Thxs

  • kulyia

    wow. this was a lot of help. thank you!

  • Kieron Rogan

    I have just had my teeth cleaned professionally by a qualified dentist. I noticed on the report that i had “Calculus” My gums appear to be very low which i presume is the result of the “Calculus” My question is “Will my gums rectify themselves if i continue having my teeth cleaned proffessionally”?

  • Harley Street Dentist

    You don’t have to go to a dentist, but it would be sensible to do so before you choose what to do next.
    If it’s easier, you could book an appointment with a hygienist. They can perform a thorough cleaning without the intrusiveness of a dentist.
    However, a good dentist should be able to offer a more thorough cleaning using a water jet as opposed to a dental scraper.
    After that, you can consider teeth whitening. The cheapest form is a home tooth whitening kit, but try to get one that is recommended by a dentist or hygienist.
    And as Chris Morris says, you could get your own scraper, but it’s mighty difficult to both see what you are doing and do it accurately on yourself!

  • Jen

    Hi,I have plaque but now it’s begining to look like tartar on my lower perminent retainer. My orthodontics told me the next time that I go to my dentist,to tell them that.They also said that once the dentist checks this out,they will decide if the retainer will be kept there or not,I would like for the retainer to stay there though…Anyways I haven’t been to the dentist in about 8 months. Is there anyway to get rid of the plaque or tartar before I visit my dentist? Thank you.

  • Jen

    P.s I have tryed using mouth wash and flossing,and I still don’t see a difference :/ because my othodontics had recommend that as well. I would really like to know what the problem is! Thanks

  • joe hughes

    throw away your mouth washes listerine and all else they are worthless they should be sued for lieing to the customers i used to use them found out had periodontal disease(take a test use listerine go to sleep wake up and smell your breath)it is going to smell worst than before you went to bed why becouse of alcohol alcohol dries your mouth and creates a ideal envirement for bacteria by the time you wake up billion of bacteria cells are breeding in your mouth creating bad breath that 12 hour protection in bull shit.i use oramed now it is oil based and stays in your mouth all natural wake up no bad breath kills the 22 bacteria that form tartar on your teeth that leads to periodontal disease in your gums ,this is fact

  • Ann

    Go to dentist regularly (6 mos) for checkup/cleanings. Floss & brush with electric Oral B as well (even longer than built in timer); just noticed brown tartar on upper #14, and lower #30/#31. #14 even looks (as far as I can see with poor vision and lighting) like it is starting to crack, while #30 is awfully tender and swollen. #13 and #29 have already been pulled due to some immune disease I have that causes my teeth to break apart from the inside out (dentist said he’s never seen anything like it before). From what I’ve read, can the amount of meds, plus my disease, cause this sudden tartar to show up? And could #30 (maybe #31) be gingivitis possibly early stage periodontal disease? No bleeding yet, but incredibly sore, swollen, even touching jaw on outside.

  • dawn

    is it true that tartar removal increases teeth sensitive? freaks me out.

  • Fritz

    Wow I didn’t know Dental services are so expensive in the USA. I am from Germany and I have dental cleaning twice year. I would recommend getting a dental insurance that covers dental cleaning at least twice or more a year.

  • samuel

    i hav tartar on my the process of getting rid of it through the hard brush it affected my gum in big way to the extent of bleeding at any attempt i made in brushing.pls how can i get rid of the tartar in the first place and also get my gum healed as it was before.thanks

  • Daniel

    I had a moderate tartar problem due to bad oral hygien habits, and almost solve my problem with a 5 dollars DenTek kit (pick, scaler and mirror) I just scale my tartar and brush with a battery tooth brush, using with “baking soda” and “Colgate Total” mix (half and half), paciently and carefully scale and alternate with brushing and flosing. Three days after I removed 95% of tartar and whitening my tooth. ๐Ÿ˜€

    So I think that if I keep doing the same, I’ll finally solve that hard problem by my self, or I’ll go to the dental office without the shame.

    Chemicals cost the same money of a professional treatment :-

    I hope my experience be usefull for someone “Do it you self” like my

  • Chester

    Hey Daniel, how do you scale your own teeth?

  • maame

    my lower gum middle set of teeth are stain with this greenish stuff and I so want to get rid of them badly because it makes me embarrassed, please help me!

  • Oral Help

    Ive found that Hydrogen Peroxide is great for removing hardened calculus as it softens it where you can then brush it off. But you have to be CAREFUL as this calculus containas alot of bacteria and will give you thrush and lesions all along youre inner cheeks, lesions you will have to painfully pop and get rid of. Ultra brite has a toothpaste which contains baking soda and peroxide which ive also found to be helpful, but nothing is quicker and more effective than gargling hydrogen peroxide 3% solution for about 3 days (drawback are the lesions and “thrush” aka white tongue you get from all the bacteria that get released from using Hydrogen Peroxide 3%.

    Good Luck!

  • Peter

    I’ve been on a strict diet (lots of veggies, some meat and minimal fruit, no processed meals). I don’t consume sugar, my ch-intake is less than 100g/day. Only drink mineral water, nothing else (no tea, beer, coffee, etc.) Using curaprox brush and curaprox cs 1006 single-tuft brush. Every day application with elmex erosion prot. dental rinse and Tooth Mousse /MI taste Plus. I wash my teeth 3-4 times a day, 55-60 mins after meals. But I have to go to my dentist once in a month cause of my huge tartar.

    My next step: D vit 3000 IU + K2 (Mk4) 600 mcg /day.

    I hope it helps.

  • Ericka


    MI paste increases tartar/calculus buildup, which is hardened minerals basically, and if your dental rinse has fluoride that also contributes to calculus through mineralization. Those products help in the reduction of cavities. Everyone’s mouth is different, those with a more acidic make-up tend to have cavities and those with a more basic have more calculus or that have high levels of phosphates in their saliva.

    If you don’t have a history of cavities you may want to change your products. Consult your DH next time you go in to the dentist. Also try chewing gum through out the day this will keep the pH levels in your mouth in check, preferably with Xylitol (which brings down the # o S. mutans that cause cavities).

    Increased sensitivity comes if the cementum which covers the dentin is removed during scaling not the calculus.

    Also to the comment that listerine does not work that is false. It claims to reduce gingivitis which is inflammation of the gums and it does. It does not however claim to reduce periodontitis! This is a disease that is under the gum tissue that can cause bone/tooth loss and no mouthwash can get under the tissue.

  • Mary

    I am very interested in finding something that does reduce plaque and tartar because I am like so many others, I don’t have any dental insurance and I am forced to take other measures because I can’t go to the dentist. But there are so many products that you try and nothing seems to work. As I see on this website, some say do this and some say that what that person said does not work. You just don’t know what to do. Is there something that really work and not do more damage than good? Please help, I am getting desperate.

  • Cindy

    Xylitol is supposed to be the greatest discovery in dental care. i’m trying a variety of xylitol products now and scraping my stains off. my problem is i don’t know if i have tartar on the backs of my front teeth, or if i’ve smashed the enamel in an electric toothbrush accident. i’m a shutin and can’t get to the dentist. so how can i tell if it’s tartar or smashed enamel. the smashing happened before i started the xylitol and scraping.