If you are interested in keeping up with good oral hygiene habits, getting rid of tartar from the surface of the teeth should be a top priority. Tartar, sometimes referred to as dental calculus, is a crusty film that can stain the teeth and cause discoloration. Tartar deposits form when the plaque formation from the surface of teeth is not removed completely. When minerals in the saliva combine with plaque it will form crystals that harden into tartar. Unremoved plaque hardens into tartar. Bacteria accumulate and spread to the gums, causing inflammation. Gingivitis (early gum disease) forms as a result. Fortunately, this type of gum disease is reversible with professional teeth cleanings in its early stages.
To stay on top of and prevent tartar buildup, it is important to develop regular brushing and flossing habits, twice daily and see a dentist near you for biannual checkups. At these checkups, your dentist can treat tartar build ups with a professional dental cleaning. How does a dentist remove tartar from the surface of teeth? Read further as we explain how the pros take tartar off teeth.
What to Expect From a Dental Cleaning
A dental cleaning will start with a total examination of the entire inside of the mouth. The dentist will use a small mirror to check the teeth and the gums for any potential issues, tartar build up being one of them. If the dentist or dental hygienist spots tartar on the surface of the teeth, they will remove it with an instrument called a scaler. A scaler is a device that has a hook on the end of it, and it is used to remove tartar above and below the gum line. If there is an excessive amount of tartar, the dentist or dental hygienist may recommend a deep cleaning that combines scaling and root planing.
Root planing and scaling is a procedure that removes hardened tartar buildup in a non surgical method. The procedure is recommended if you have periodontal disease (periodontitis).
How Periodontitis Forms
If gingivitis is left untreated, periodontitis will develop with time. It’s a severe type of gum disease that can’t be reversed (only slowed down). Dental plaque accumulates when you neglect oral hygiene. As the gums become more irritated, they separate from the teeth and deep spaces called periodontal pockets are formed. Plaque and tartar move into these spaces, leading to symptoms like: swollen/bleeding gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and pus. Untreated periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.This is why prompt treatment (scaling and root planing) is necessary.
To perform a dental scaling, the dentist or dental hygienist will use either a hand held, manual instrument or may prefer an ultrasonic instrument.
Hand Held Manual Instruments: If this is the method used, the dental professional will use s dental scaler and a curette to remove tartar from the surface of the teeth. When using the manual tools, the dentist will not be able to see the tartar, so they use their sense of touch to locate the areas that have the most tartar buildup.
Ultrasonic Instruments: When the dental professional uses ultrasonic instruments to remove tartar, the metal vibrating tip from the ultrasonic instrument loosens the tartar and helps chip it off the surface of the teeth. Then, a water spray is used to wash the tartar away.
Tooth Brushing With a Gritty Toothpaste
Once the tartar is removed from the teeth, the professional will brush the patient’s teeth with a gritty toothpaste. Using a high powered electric brush, the dentist will apply the gritty toothpaste to the teeth to get an even deeper clean. The brush makes a grinding noise, but the process does not hurt. A professional cleaning usually involves using toothpaste with different flavors you can choose from. The gritty toothpaste scrubs the teeth and gives them nice polish, in addition to the deep cleaning. Dentists recommend this kind of teeth cleaning twice a year.
Dentists Will Floss The Teeth Next
After the deep clean and polish from the gritty toothpaste, the dentist will then expertly floss the patients’ teeth. Even if you are in the habit of flossing at home, you really can’t beat an expert flossing for accuracy. The dentist can locate any potential spots that may become troublesome. Having a professional floss also removes any leftover tartar that was left behind in the teeth cleaning process. Finally, the dentist will have the patient rinse their mouth to remove any debris. The rinse may contain a liquid fluoride.
The last step to deep cleaning and tartar removal is a fluoride treatment. A fluoride treatment serves as a protectant for teeth, it can help fight off cavities for months afterwards. Once again, the patient may have a choice on the flavor. The fluoride treatment, which is a foamy gel or paste, will be poured into a mouthpiece that is placed over the teeth. After a minute, the fluoride treatment is rinsed off, and fluoride varnish is painted onto the teeth. This varnish will harden from the salvia in the mouth which means you can eat or drink after the appointment.