The hardened and usually discoloured plaque that accumulates around the necks of teeth is tartar. Regular tooth brushing and maintaining a proper diet can partly influence its level, but it should nevertheless be removed regularly at the dentist.
Causes of tartar formation
Tartar is a calcified layer of plaque formed by bacteria and carbohydrates. They are the most common causes of serious gum disease and dental caries. Tartar most often accumulates in hard-to-reach places where it is difficult to reach with a toothbrush. Therefore, prolonged accumulation of tartar may lead to the exposure of tooth necks, which may even result in periodontitis.
The best and most effective method of getting rid of unwanted tartar is scaling. This is a painless procedure which is performed by a dentist or hygienist. It involves the removal of tartar using a scaler - a device whose tip is applied to the areas where tartar is present.
In dentistry, an ultrasonic scaler is most commonly encountered. After applying the tip of the device to the dental deposit, ultrasonic waves and water break up the calcified layer. Immediately after scaling, the dentist polishes the surface of the cleaned tooth in order to prevent the re-deposition of deposits.
Very often, the complementary treatment to scaling is sandblasting. This procedure is also painless and performed by a dentist. Scaling breaks up tartar, while sandblasting removes residual tartar and stains. After sandblasting, it is worthwhile to have additional tooth fluoridation, which will strengthen the enamel and protect the tooth against the development of decay.
Scaling is a procedure that should be performed 1-2 per year. Smokers and people who are particularly susceptible to calcified plaque build-up should have this treatment done more often. Regular tartar removal will certainly guarantee a healthy and beautiful smile.