To some people, it’s a sign of excess calcium.
To others, it’s another word for plaque.
Just what is tartar, and how does it affect your teeth?
The Recipe For Tartar
No, not the sauce . . .
“Tartar” is a more common term for what your dentist and dental hygienist know as “calculus.” Made up of dead bacterial cells, calcium phosphate from saliva, and natural fluids from your gum tissue, calculus is what’s left over when plaque calcifies. Gritty and concrete-like, tartar can develop in a thin veneer over tooth surfaces or it can collect in ledges below the gum line.
Basically, any place on your teeth where the plaque is not removed daily can develop this dental calculus.
Why Remove Calculus?
Tartar itself may not be as bad as soft plaque which is made up of live bacteria, but the mineral deposits are harmful in their own way. Calculus is very porous which makes it quickly pick up stain and germs.
If you have even just a little calculus buildup, it will show because of how it takes on the color of whatever foods you frequently eat.
Because it provides a safe harbor for bacteria, tartar is also a major irritant to gums. In fact, tartar deposits below the gum line promote the spread of periodontal disease and need to be removed with professional scaling for the gums to heal.
Prevent Tartar Buildup
By controlling the growth of plaque with routine preventative dental care, you limit how much tartar you can cultivate on your teeth. Aim to brush at least twice a day and even use an anti-plaque rinse. Of course, don’t forget the regular dental cleanings and checkups.
Posted on behalf of:
66 N. Holiday Road
Miramar Beach, FL 32550
“My dental hygienist told me I need to come in for cleanings more often, but I don’t see why – I’ve come in for regular six-month cleanings my whole life!”
Can you relate to that statement?
The fact is that dental needs change with time. Every patient is a unique case. A dental cleaning is far from a routine procedure that suits everyone equally.
Why might your hygienist recommend that you come for more frequent cleanings?
Difficulty Keeping Teeth Clean
Because of conditions such as arthritis or Parkinson’s, some patients have a hard time keeping their teeth properly cleaned. Certain areas in the mouth may often be missed and so they are more prone to developing disease. Frequent cleanings can keep disease at bay!
Gums Affected By Health Issue
Diseases like diabetes and conditions such as Down’s Syndrome predispose many individuals to gum inflammation. Extra cleanings can keep harmful inflammation to a minimum.
Probably the most common reason for scheduling more frequent cleanings is because of having periodontal treatment completed. Deep root scaling to remove debris and bacteria below the gums is effective in controlling periodontal disease.
After the procedure, however, you need to maintain the health and cleanliness of your gums. The extra cleanings that follow are actually periodontal maintenance appointments. They specifically help you to keep your gums clean after periodontal treatment.
Coming in for dental cleanings on a more frequent basis is a way you can avail yourself of personalized preventive dental care. The point of cleaning your teeth more is to prevent bigger problems from setting in! Talk with your dentist for more information on why the office recommends that you have extra dental cleanings.
Posted on behalf of:
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
Hygienists are always asking questions: “How often are you flossing? Does this hurt? How hard are you brushing your teeth?” In turn, there need to be some questions that you’re asking them. Knowing the right questions to ask can help you keep your mouth healthy, your teeth longer, and your breath fresher.
“Do I have any new pockets?”
Pockets are the areas under your gums, around your teeth. Healthy pockets are less than 3mm deep, but deeper pockets indicate that gum disease is present and beginning to destroy the bone in your mouth. Excessive pocketing may mean that perio therapy like deep cleanings, laser treatment, or even gum grafting is necessary.
“Are any areas of my gums bleeding or swollen?”
Gingivitis is the first step in developing gum disease. Thankfully, it is 100% reversible. Symptoms like bleeding, swollen gums are signs that gingivitis is present. With routine brushing and flossing, gingivitis should completely reverse within 2 weeks.
“Is there any recession?”
Recession is when gum tissue creeps down the neck of the tooth, exposing the root. It can cause sensitivity, compromise the stability of the tooth, and allow the root to develop cavities. Scrubbing too hard when you brush, using a hard toothbrush, grinding/clenching, and gum disease can all contribute to gum recession.
“Do you see any demineralized enamel?”
The first stage of cavities is weak, demineralizing enamel. This often appears as frosty white areas on the teeth where brushing is less than adequate. Common areas are those along the gumlines, or around orthodontic appliances.
If you’re having an area of sensitivity or something doesn’t quite look right, your hygienist is a great resource to utilize during your check-ups!
Posted on behalf of Find Local Dentists
When choosing a dental practice, most patients focus on the dentists and the scope of the dental practice. However, for routine dental care such as regular dental cleanings and checkups, most patients will spend the majority of their time with the dental hygienist without fully understanding the important role the dental hygienist plays in maintaining the patient’s oral health.
Dental hygienists are the primary providers of critically important preventative dental care. Most patients understand that the dental hygienists job is to provide dental cleaning (also called prophylaxis). Cleaning teeth and removing plaque, tartar, and stains is a major role filled by dental hygienists, but in addition to cleaning teeth, they take and interpret dental X-rays, provide patient education about oral health issues, apply sealants and fluoride, perform the initial assessment of the patient’s oral health and handle other duties.
Dental hygienists are licensed health care professionals. Most dental hygienists complete at least a two year college level course of study at a university, community college, technical school or dental school. They must also pass a comprehensive written and practical examination before being licensed by the state. Some dental hygienists complete a four or five year college level program.
Except for a few states, a licensed dental hygienist is required to work under the supervision of a dentist. In most general and family dental practices, the dental hygienist is a vitally important part of the dental care team and can be an excellent source of information and advice for keeping your teeth in great shape.
Do you know the difference between an orthodontist and a pedodontist? If you need to make an appointment for dental care, you will need to know what the different dental specialties are. Here are a few dental specialties that you are most likely to need. Many dentists and dental practices work in more than one of these areas.
A general dentist or family dentist is a family practitioner that you are probably most familiar with. These dentists provide general dental care such as dental cleanings and checkups, routine examinations, preventative dental care, fillings, crowns, and caps. They may also offer other services such as teeth whitening.
Orthodontists use braces and other methods to straighten teeth. Not only do straight teeth give you a pleasant smile, but they are also important for your oral and overall health.
Endodontists deal with treating diseases and decay in the soft tissue and pulp of your teeth. If you need a root canal, you may be referred to an endodontist for treatment. Endodontists can also replace teeth which have been knocked out.
Oral surgeons specialize in surgery of the mouth. They remove wisdom teeth, treat TMJ and other disorders of the jaw, remove oral cancers, and place dental implants.
A pedodontist is also known as a pediatric dentist. They specialize in dental care for children and primarily do preventative dental care.
Cosmetic dentists focus their practice on enhancing the appearance of your teeth. They may provide teeth whiting, caps, veneers, dental implants, and bonding.
A sleep and sedation dentist specializes in treating patients while under partial or full anesthesia. This type of dentistry is primarily intended for patients who cannot tolerate traditional dentistry treatment such as special needs patients and those with severe dental anxiety.
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