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What is Tartar and Why Should I Care?

What Is Tartar and Why Should I Care?

Gross tartar deposits, blunted tissue, periodontal disease

Please see the tartar on the following photos:

Heavy deposits of tartar behind lower front teeth.

The real problem with tartar lies in the fact that once tartar forms, it is very difficult or impossible to remove with a toothbrush and floss. We compare the formation of tartar on your teeth to the formation of calcium deposits on your faucets or the formation of barnacles on a ships
hull.

Moderate tartar deposits - moderate gum inflammation

Because tartar is bound to your teeth so strongly, careful removal of tartar requires the assistance of a dental professional – your dentist or dental hygienist will do this for you.  Tartar makes the teeth rough and creates places for even more bacteria and food to accumulate leading to gun disease, periodontal disease, decay, bad breath, and more tartar!  It is a vicious cycle.  Other common names for tartar are calculus and crud!

The accumulation of tartar requires three things:

1)    The presence of an organized film of bacteria – and yes, new bacteria are always there ready and willing to take the place of bacteria that have been removed by brushing and flossing!  As soon as you brush and floss, more bacteria begin to accumulate on your teeth and gums as well as in the crevice between the teeth and gums where the bacteria are hard to reach but can usually be removed with careful dental flossing.
2)    The presence of food and minerals for the bacteria.  These things are almost always present in anyone’s mouth.
3)    The presence of teeth!
We used the term, ‘organized film of bacteria’ above.  This is very important because part of what you are doing when you brush and floss your teeth is simply stirring up the bacteria that are present.  Bringing the worst bacteria out from under your gums and into the oxygenated openness of your mouth limits tartar formation and limits colonies of bacteria to form which can then lead to gum disease and periodontal disease.

See tartar and defective restorations

Some of the tartar in your mouth can be seen easily by looking closely in a mirror.  Don’t be tempted to scrapethe tartar off yourself though. You may accidently scrape away some of the surface of your teeth along with the tartar deposits which can permanently make the teeth weak!  The most damaging tartar is the tartar that forms below the gums where it can be seen on x-rays and felt by a skilled dental professional.
If you would like to see images of your teeth and see the tartar that is being evaluated or treated, please ask us!  Our office would be happy to explain in as much detail as you would like what is going on in your mouth.  Conversely, if you would just like to enjoy peaceful or rocking music while you are being treated and remain oblivious to the nuts and bolts of the procedures we would be happy to do this as well.  Once you make an informed decision about your dental care we will strive to treat you as comfortably as possible!  Our office is located in Grand Junction,
Colorado.  Our office phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Please visit us on Facebook (see Julie M Gillis DDS PC) or call us if you have any questions or concerns.

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Julie Gillis DDS