Tartar is plaque that has had time to harden and is that white (sometimes yellow) substance found at the base of the tooth just above the gumline. Tartar is usually not removed with standard brushing and flossing and usually requires coming in to see us for proper and thorough removal.
Tooth scaling is a service that involves using a tool that is specifically designed to break-apart and remove tartar. We gently run the tooth scaling tool along the front and back surfaces of teeth that have any signs of tartar which effectively cleans the gumline and smooths the tooth enamel. Every time you come in for a dental checkup, tooth scaling is performed to help prevent future dental problems such as cavities and gum disease.
A cavitron is a dental instrument that uses high frequency sound waves and water to clean teeth. These high frequency sound waves vibrate tartar off your teeth. Water then flushes away the bacteria and plaque that build up on your teeth.
Routine hygiene appointments (cleanings) remove tarter (calculus) above the gums and also include a professional polishing (Prophy) that removes only the soft sticky plaque that is above the gumline. Tooth surfaces are exactly what plaque loves to grab hold of and start hardening into harmful tartar. After your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, the hygienist will polish your teeth with a special tooth polishing instrument and a flavored polishing material. Tooth polishing helps make your teeth smoother making it difficult for plaque to grab on to. After tooth polishing, you will be able to tell a difference with how smooth your teeth feel, as well as visibly see that they’re looking their best.
Some patients require removal of calculus below the gums that has caused pockets to form down in the gums. These pockets allow bacteria to thrive deep in the gums contributes to bone loss around the teeth—Periodontal disease (see below). The removal of tartar and smoothing the root surfaces is called scaling and root planing. The hygienists at Family Dental Group provide this type of periodontal treatment. Often a patient will want to have anesthesia (be numb) to have this treatment—it is more comfortable. Root planing is also known as a deep cleaning since it is used to remove this tartar from the tooth’s root below the gum.