Also known as calculus, is a hard, adherent deposit on the tooth’s surface. If the dental plaque is not removed regularly, minerals from the saliva precipitate in the plaque and that is how calculus is formed. It can be formed above the gums or below them. Once the calculus is formed it can only be removed by ultrasonic instruments. Calculus can damage the gums and lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
The main reason why tartar appears in the oral cavity is bad oral hygiene. If the patient provides good hygiene, with brushing twice a day and flossing, the chances of calculus appearance are much lower. Also, patients with improper brushing techniques might be more exposed to plaque buildup. The most common places in the oral cavity with calculus buildup are the lingual surfaces of the mandibular incisors and the buccal surfaces of the upper molars. But that doesn’t mean that tartar can’t appear in other locations.
Dental calculus is a visible formation that appears on the teeth. The place where you can usually notice it is right next to the gumline. It can be supragingival, located above the gumline on the crown, and subgingival, located below the gumline. The supragingival is visible at all times, while the second type is discovered during a dental exam. The symptoms include inflamed gyms, present periodontal disease, bleeding gums, red gums, exposed roots, receding gums, bad oral smell and more. It is a hard substance that cannot be removed with a toothbrush. Dental plaque and calculus are the two most important factors for periodontal disease. They have a direct connection to the destruction of the periodontal tissues and the appearance of periodontal pockets. That is why calculus is of high importance in dental medicine and should be removed regularly.
Since calculus cannot be removed with a brush or floss, dentists use special instruments to remove it. Patients need to visit the dentist at least twice a year for a regular checkup. That is when dentists do an exam and if there is a need to do a cleaning they remove the calculus. There are people who are more prone to having tartar, so the dentist might decide to schedule a cleaning more often. It can be done by hand instruments including scalers, curettes, files, chisels and more. All of these are applied to the hard calculus substance and are mostly used to remove the subgingival part of the tartar. This type of calculus is located in periodontal pockets, so removing it completely has a very important meaning in the treatment of periodontal disease. In the past, the dentists didn’t have any ultrasonic instruments so they had to remove all calculus by hand. Curettes are the instruments applied to the subgingival tartar. They are created in a way so they can perfectly adapt to the surfaces of teeth for a more effective final result. Ultrasonic scalers are a huge advancement in dentistry. They are very effective in removing tartar, plaque, discolorations and more. These scalers create ultrasonic vibrations that break down the hard substance and remove it from the surface.