The importance of tartar removal or scaling

Tartar is crystallised plaque deposited on teeth and tooth replacements that cannot be removed by means of a conventional at-home oral hygiene routine. This deposit is an excellent breeding ground for various bacteria. It first appears in a softer form which hardens with time and may develop a yellow or brown discoloration due to smoking, coffee or wine consumption, etc. It most frequently occurs on the lingual side of the lower incisors and canines, the exterior side of the upper molars, crowded teeth, and on the occlusal surface of teeth not involved in chewing. The grainy surface of the teeth allows for further plaque deposit to develop and crystallise, continuously increasing the amount of tartar.

 Tartar in front view before after


Why to perform scaling?

Tartar also reaches beneath the gums and deposits on the surface of the tooth root canal. Bacteria in subgingival plaque and tartar may destroy bone mass resulting in a decreased amount of bone around the tooth inducing bone resorption and causing the tooth to become loose, and eventually necessitating its extraction becoming as it does incapable of fulfilling its role in the jawbone with time. This process is called periodontal disease or gum decay. The bone mass lost cannot regenerate and can only be restored by means of bone graft. The presence of tartar can furthermore give rise to aesthetic concerns, and bacteria thriving in the tartar piled up in the gumline and beneath the gum may occasion the inflammation of the gum associated with its swelling and bleeding. Chronic inflammation may impair the immune system of the body and result in complications in the healthy operation of organs. For such inflammations to resolve it often suffices to perform tartar removal. Bacteria present in the build-up of tartar may also give rise to unpleasant taste in the mouth and bad breath (halitosis). The presence of tartar may also be associated with various complications affecting the whole of the body. For instance, inappropriately removed plaque and the presence of tartar may even bring on premature delivery!

Prevention of the formation of tartar

Tartar develops in everybody in various quantities, which is inevitable even if the rules of oral hygiene are fully observed, even despite regular and appropriate brushing. Tartar is mineralised plaque, the formation of which is best prevented by timely and thorough plaque removal. An appropriate brush coupled with a proper brushing technique, and the frequent use of dental floss, interdental cleaners, interdental brushes and mouth rinse are all-important. Many people have inappropriate tooth brushing techniques, brushing forcefully with horizontal sweeps and with worn brushes resulting in great damage such as gum retraction and tooth neck wear. If you have any questions feel free to contact our dental hygienist regarding the use of any device and the demonstration of appropriate tooth care routines.

Tartar removal (scaling)

Tartar removal can only be performed by a professional in a clinical environment. Please refrain from removing tartar at home as this may result in major damage to your gums. Scaling is performed by means of an ultrasound device which uses ultrasound to chip tartar off the tooth or tooth replacement without injury to tooth mass. Tartar and discolorations of a smaller size may be removed by means of a sandblaster. Hand-driven devices may also be used for sub- and supergingival tartar removal, but such interventions occur under local anaesthesia. Following tartar removal the tooth surfaces are smoothed clean by means of a polishing paste containing minute grains.

Overhead view of tartar with a mirror   before  after

How frequently should tartar be removed?

Tartar is best removed the moment it appears. With the use of a mirror you may verify yourself whether tartar has already appeared on your teeth or tooth replacements. When a yellowish discoloration remains visible even after brushing, you can be satisfied that it is either plaque deposit or tartar. For proper maintenance of children’s teeth and periodontium it is supremely important to introduce them to oral hygiene techniques and instil the importance of reporting for regular check-ups. Patients are advised to visit the dentist every half a year to receive timely treatment for issues that may crop up (tartar, early caries detection, tooth neck wear, gingivitis, etc.) and prevent the further deterioration of teeth and gums. It is important not to postpone consulting a doctor until it is too late! You can best prolong the health of your teeth by reporting at dental check-ups half-yearly. Timely removal of tartar may prevent the formation of periodontal diseases and eliminate a host of dental problems.

Tartar deposits may give rise to serious diseases and neglecting the issue may even lead to tooth loss.

Should you have any questions or if you wish to book a consultation or check-up please free to contact us.

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