Tartar is very common and forms when bacterial coatings stuck to the teeth come into contact with saliva. It is important to remove tartar, because tartar can lead to gingivitis and tooth loss. There are several ways to remove tartar.
There are two types of tartar. A type is formed above the gumline on the inside of the front teeth of the lower jaw and on the outside of the large cheek teeth in the upper jaw. The second type of tartar is formed under the gumline in inflamed gum pockets and can help you get tooth decay , called periodontitis.
Symptoms of tartar
The first type of tartar formed above the gumline is at first grainy and porous and usually has a white, chalky color. When it hardens, it can get a darker color due to, for example, smoking, coffee, tea and wine.
You can often discover yourself the tartar that has got a yellow or dark brown color, since it is visible on the surface of the teeth. Many people therefore notice themselves when there is a lot of tartar, especially if it sits on the inside of the front teeth of the lower jaw. Then you can often feel the rough surface of the tartar with the tongue tip and sometimes see that the teeth have become discolored.
Tartar above the gumline is harmful mainly because you find it harder to keep clean close to the gumline, which leads to an increased risk of gingivitis.
Bleeding can be a symptom of tartar
The other type of tartar that forms under the gumline is not visible, but when the gums become inflamed due to bacteria in the tartar, you may bleed a little, for example when brushing your teeth. You can sometimes also feel the taste of where from the inflamed gum pockets when the tartar has been around for a long time. Bleeding, alertness and bad breath are symptoms that may indicate that you have tooth loss.
It is common in tooth loss that the tooth feels movable and that it can be waved. Another symptom of tooth loss that is caused by tartar under the gumline is so-called tooth decay, which means that the teeth move slowly from their original place over the course of several years.
Dental care professionals can make a secure diagnosis
To find out if you have a tartar under the gumline and are at risk of tooth decay, you must be examined by a dentist or dental hygienist. They can see if you have tartar and inflammation in the gum pockets using x-rays and an instrument used to measure the depth of the gum pockets.
When should I seek care?
If you notice that the gums are bleeding, are swollen or that there is a lot of tartar on the teeth, you should contact a dentist or dental hygienist.
Treatment for tartar
Tartar above the gumline is visible on the surface of the tooth and can often be removed without anesthesia. It can snap at the teeth and feel a little uncomfortable but usually doesn’t hurt. Removing tartar beneath the gumline feels more and anesthesia may be needed, especially if you have deep gum pockets.
Both types of tartar tend to get stuck quite hard, but can often be removed with the help of an ultrasonic instrument. The instrument has a rounded metal tip that vibrates lightly against the surface of the tartar, which is then vibrated loose.
Various instruments can be used
Another way to remove tartar is to use various instruments to scrape off bacterial deposits and tartar. The method is also used as a complement to the ultrasonic instrument.
A relatively new method is to use a so-called surgical laser . It has a tip that can relax the tartar so that the usual ultrasound or hand instrument approach is easier.
Polishing ends the treatment
The treatment of tartar is finished by polishing all tooth surfaces with so-called polishing paste. This gives you as smooth and easy to clean surfaces as possible, while reducing the risk of new bacterial coatings on the teeth.
The dentist or dental hygienist also usually tells you how to best manage your oral hygiene effectively, so that you can access the places where the tartar is usually formed.
After the treatment, you may feel a little sore at the gum line for some day. But the problems disappear quickly and the gums are usually completely healthy after a week.
What is tartar?
Tartar is formed by soft bacterial coatings, called plaque, that stick to the teeth and eventually harden after contact with the saliva. Bacterial coatings are constantly forming on the teeth and must be removed every day for teeth and gums to be healthy.
The best way to avoid tartar is to remove the soft bacterial coating through regular tooth brushing and cleaning between the teeth with dental floss, toothpicks or gum brushes.
You should also be examined regularly by a dentist or dental hygienist to remove any tartar that may have accumulated.
Common in many
Most people have tartar on at least some tooth, even though they regularly clean their teeth with a toothbrush and floss. How much tartar is formed varies from person to person, and it can also change during different periods of life.
Tartar rarely presents a problem in children, but if they get tartar it usually sits on the inside of the front teeth of the lower jaw.
It takes different time to get tartar
In some people, minerals are rapidly precipitated from the saliva and tartar above the gumline is formed after a week, while others hardly develop any tartar at all. If you smoke you often get more tartar.
During the first two to three weeks, it is often possible to brush off the bacterial coating. However, if the tartar has hardened, you must go to a dentist or dental hygienist to remove it.
The saliva can affect
You may have problems with tartar even if you are tired of taking care of your teeth. This may be due to the composition of the saliva affecting the formation of tartar, especially the presence of so-called mineral salts and calcium and phosphate ions in the saliva.
Where is tartar formed?
It is common to get tartar above the gumline on the inside of the front teeth of the lower jaw and on the outside of the large cheek teeth in the upper jaw, where salivary glands form saliva.
If you allow bacterial coatings to grow undisturbed at the edge of the gums for a few weeks, the gums become inflamed, you get so-called gingivitis. You can notice it by gums getting red, swollen and bleeding lightly, especially between the teeth where you have difficulty accessing when brushing.
Inflammation of the gums can lead to tooth loss
Large quantities of bacteria accumulate in the porous surface of the tartar beneath the gumline, causing inflammation that can cause tooth loss.
The inflammation loosens the gums and breaks down the supporting tissues of the tooth, making the gums pockets even deeper. So it is not the tartar in itself that causes you to get tooth loss, but the inflammation that occurs in the gums and jawbone due to bacteria.
Dental discharge often develops slowly and without symptoms, even though you have had inflammation of the gums for several years. It is usually only in middle age that you notice that the teeth start to move or sit loose, but this can happen even sooner.
A superficial inflammation of the gums heals within one to two weeks if you clean all the tooth surfaces at the gum line once a day. But if you have deep gum pockets, you need to go to the dentist or dental hygienist.