Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Calculus or Tartar


Calculus is the hard residue ranging from yellow to brown forming on teeth when oral hygiene is incomplete or improper. Calculus is formed from Plaque (a soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth; composed largely of bacteria and food substances suspended in saliva) which can build up and become hard. This hard plaque is known as tartar or calculus. Brushing and flossing alone cannot remove calculus. A dentist or hygienist must remove it manually to stop the disease process.

Calculus forms in various areas of the mouth. The terms Supra-gingival calculus and subgingival calculus are given to the most common areas of calculus build up.

Rate of calculus formation varies from person to person but the following can certain factors can increase the rate of calculus formation. These factors are

· Elevated salivary pH.

· Elevated salivary calcium concentration.

· Elevated bacterial protein and lipid concentration.

· Elevated concentration of protein and urea in submandibular salivary gland secretions.

· Low individual inhibitory factors.

· Higher total salivary lipid levels.

Procedures to remove calculus include the following.

· Scaling:

The meticulous removal from the root surfaces of the teeth to remove plaque calculus and stains from these surfaces.

· Root Planing:
A treatment procedure designed to remove cementum or surface dentin that is rough impregnated with calculus or contaminated with toxins or microorganisms.

· Periodontal Debridement:
This includes the removal of plaque and calculus both above and below the gingiva.

· Prophy / Prophylaxis:
A preventive procedure to remove local irritants to the gingiva including debridements of calculus and removal of plaque.