What You Should Know About Calculus Removal

When you visit your dentist for your bi-annual cleaning and check-up, the hygienist is going to remove the plaque and calculus from your teeth. Calculus, also known as tartar, is a hard deposit that forms on your teeth due to bacteria and food debris that was not removed through brushing or flossing. Once it turns to calculus, it can't be removed on your own with a toothbrush, and therefore requires help from a professional. Here are some things you should know about calculus and how it is removed.

Debridement is the First Step 

When you have hard calculus that has formed on your teeth, you will first need to have debridement done. This is the process of removing the calculus with a variety of dental tools. For mild calculus, using basic metal tools that remove plaque and tartar by dental hygienists is often enough. However, if you have large pieces of calculus on your teeth, an ultrasonic device might be used first. This will use high-frequency vibrations and water pressure to remove the large pieces of calculus first. Once the larger chunks are removed, the tools are then used to continue removing plaque from the teeth and below the gumline.

Some Calculus Requires a Dentist

You should also know that there are different types of calculus on the teeth, some of which need to be removed by a dentist. The first stages of calculus and plaque appear above the gumline, and are fine for a dental hygienist to remove. However, when the calculus is growing below the gumline, it then requires help from a license dentist. They will use similar methods for removal, including the manual scraping tools and ultrasonic devices. For severe calculus underneath the gumline that goes down to the nerves or roots, anesthesia is often given beforehand.

You May Need More Periodontal Treatment

When you have calculus growth above or below your gumline, it is often a sign that you also have advanced gum disease. Periodontal disease occurs when gingivitis is not treated properly. You should be prepared to have other procedures performed in addition to removing the calculus during this first cleaning, including a scaling and root planing procedure performed by a periodontist or gum and bone growth procedures. Consult your dentist about what to do about your current level of gum disease and how to avoid getting more calculus growth in the future.

Talk to your dentist if you think you have calculus that needs to be removed.