Plaque Tartar Cleaning

Dental plaque is a biofilm or mass of bacteria that grows on surfaces within the mouth. It is a sticky colorless deposit at first, but when it forms tartar it is brown or pale yellow that is commonly found between the teeth, front of teeth, behind teeth, on chewing surface, along the gumline, and below the gumline cervical margins.[1] Dental plaque is also known as microbial plaque, oral biofilm, dental biofilm, dental plaque biofilm or bacterial plaque biofilm.[1] While plaque is commonly associated with oral diseases such as caries andperiodontal diseases (gum diseases), its formation is a normal process that cannot be prevented.

Dental plaque can give rise to dental caries (tooth decay) – the localised destruction of the tissues of the tooth by acid produced from the bacterial degradation of fermentable sugar – and periodontal problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis.[2] Its progression and build up is what leads to oral problems, hence it is important to disrupt the mass of bacteria and remove it daily.[3] Plaque control and removal is achieved with correct tooth brushing and use of interdental aids such as dental floss and interdental brushes.[1]

Removal of dental biofilm is important as it may become acidic causing demineralisation of the teeth (also known as caries) or harden into calculus (dental) (also known as tartar).[4] Calculus cannot be removed through toothbrushing or with interdental aids and can only be removed through professional cleaning.[2] Therefore, removal of the dental biofilm will prevent the development of caries and gum diseases.[3]

In dentistry, calculus or tartar is a form of hardened dental plaque. It is caused by precipitation of minerals from saliva and gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) in plaque on the teeth. This process of precipitation kills the bacterial cells within dental plaque, but the rough and hardened surface that is formed provides an ideal surface for further plaque formation. This leads to calculus buildup, which compromises the health of the gingiva(gums). Calculus can form both along the gumline, where it is referred to as supragingival ("above the gum"), and within the narrow sulcus that exists between the teeth and the gingiva, where it is referred to as subgingival ("below the gum").

Calculus formation is associated with a number of clinical manifestations, including bad breath, receding gums and chronically inflamed gingiva. Brushing and flossing can remove plaque from which calculus forms; however, once formed, it is too hard and firmly attached to be removed with a toothbrush. Calculus buildup can be removed with ultrasonic tools or dental hand instruments (such as a periodontal scaler).