When hectic work schedules, family responsibilities, or simple negligence get in the way of dental hygiene, plaque hardens into a much more durable and unsightly color that a toothbrush cannot scrub away. Once tartar has formed, only a dental professional will be able to remove it from your teeth.
What is Tartar?
Dental calculus, also referred to as tartar, is a deposit that forms around the base of your gums when plaque and saliva remain on the tooth for an extended period of time. Besides tarnishing your smile, tartar contains bacteria that can damage your teeth and gums, leading to cavities, gum disease, and even tooth decay.
Tartar is a porous substance, making it easier for plaque to attach to the tooth and leading to a vicious cycle of more buildup. It can stain easily, which can account for its yellow, brown, or even black appearance. It is also a breeding ground for bacteria – its proximity to the gum line causes inflammation and bleeding to occur, leading to gingivitis.
Signs and symptoms of tartar tend to be self-evident. Mild cases can lead to yellowing teeth or a feeling of coarseness on your teeth, while more severe cases lead to swollen gums or pockets forming beneath the teeth.
Tartar can become a serious problem if left untreated. While gingivitis is relatively common, neglect can allow it to progress to periodontitis, a treatable yet incurable gum disease that can lead to receding gumlines and tooth loss. There have been links between periodontitis and other severe illnesses like heart disease.
Thankfully, tartar can be removed and stop this damage before it becomes a threat when treated properly.
How to Remove Tartar
If you’re looking for a guide on how to remove tartar from teeth without a dentist, it is strongly advised that you stop your search and seek professional assistance. Tartar removal isn’t as simple as brushing it away, and using tools to remove it yourself can cause irreparable damage to tooth enamel. More, at-home methods often don’t reach the places that tartar does the most damage – underneath your gums.
Depending on how far the tartar has progressed, dental hygienists have a variety of methods at their disposal to treat and remove tartar, scaling the most common among them. Scaling uses a metal tool called a scaler to etch away excess tartar buildup. While not painful, there may be some discomfort around the gumline.
When left unchecked, tartar builds up beneath the gumline. In these cases, root planning goes beneath the gumline so that damage to bones not protected by an enamel layer is mitigated. While this may sound painful, a local anesthetic will be applied before the work is done – while the area may be sensitive several days after the procedure, swelling tends to quickly subside.
At-home methods for tartar removal have mixed levels of success. There are no proven home remedies to remove tartar naturally. However, plenty of toothpaste brands on the market contain ingredients that can actively fight against tartar buildup.
The Best Tartar Removal is Tartar Prevention
While some people have phobias around going to the dentist, not going can often lead to a scarier prognosis. Tartar, particularly when it is an ugly color, can be scary at first, and might lead you to try at-home methods rather than visiting the dentist. This approach can do more harm than good.
Tartar isn’t life-threatening on its own, but when left untreated can lead to serious complications. As with most oral health, the best method for controlling tartar is by preventing it in the first place. This includes habits such as:
- Brushing teeth twice daily for two minutes at a time
- Using tartar-control toothpaste containing fluoride
- Flossing daily
- Using an electric toothbrush
- Scheduling appointments with a dentist every six months
- Using mouthwash
- Avoid sweets
- Don’t smoke
Remember: taking care of your teeth at home is only one part of your oral hygiene regimen – finding a professional service in your area to take care of your teeth is essential for your health. As leading specialists in dental health, Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry provides Frankfort and the surrounding Illinois area with top quality care and service. Contact us today to learn more, or read about how we’re protecting our patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic.