Tartar That’s Not Good on Fish
When you’re over in Boston this summer you may have your favorite fish joint, and, while frowned upon in the kitchen, you may like it best with some tartar sauce on top. Unfortunately for our dental health, there’s another sort of tartar that is neither tasty or on any menu — tartar also called calculus.
Once tartar has formed and locked onto your teeth, you can’t get it off at home. You need the skills of our hygienists at Kalil & Kress to remove it. Not doing so leads to gingivitis and then to full on gum disease.
Here’s how we de-tartar your teeth.
How Tartar Forms
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on our teeth. Plaque and your toothbrush are involved in an ongoing battle. Every day you brush it away only to have it re-form the next day. It’s easy to remove with some attentive brushing and flossing. Problems arise when you don’t brush and floss, or do a lackadaisical job.
When plaque is allowed to stay on your teeth, it hardens or calcifies. This calcified plaque is now called tartar. It starts on your teeth above the gums and then progresses slowly down under the gumline. Initially, tartar under your gums slightly irritates them. This is called gingivitis. But as more tartar builds up and the gums become more irritated, they begin to pull away from the teeth. This is the beginning of gum disease, which can end up with tooth loss and extensive jawbone damage.
So We Chip it Away
No one should have gum disease, so our hygienists are expert tartar removers. How do they do it? They use dental picks in a process called scaling. The pick is applied to the edge of the tartar, and some force is applied. Often the tartar comes off, sort of like a shell. Other times, some back and forth scraping will remove it.
The important thing to know is that scaling is a professional job. Not only can you damage your gums and tooth enamel if you try and scrape tartar off your teeth, but you can’t do a thorough enough job so that the tartar will remain and grow.
That’s why we advise all of our patients to come in every six months for our professional cleanings. This is about the time it takes for tartar to develop on even the best cared-for teeth. Tartar is especially prevalent on the inside of the lower bottom teeth. Just about everyone builds up tartar in that location.
Is it time for your next cleaning? Call us at Kalil & Kress, 603-880-7004 to make your appointment, and leave the tartar to the cod.