Plaque is a soft sticky film consisting of bacteria and food particles that accumulate on teeth, especially around the gum line. If brushing is inadequate in this area the plaque combines with the minerals present in the saliva and foods to form a hard calcified substance that adheres to the tooth surface. This mineralized plaque is called Calculus or Tartar, and is extremely resistant to removal by a toothbrush.
Depending on the extent of tartar deposits, a dental cleaning may include up to four different procedures as follows:
- Scaling: This is the removal of all hard deposits from the root surfaces.
- Root Planing: Once the hard deposits are removed, the root surface is planed smooth, in order for the gum to reattach.
- Polishing: A fine paste is used to remove the stains and buff the teeth.
- Fluoride treatment: This is a gel that is applied to the teeth in order to control dental decay.
Generally our patients are seen every six months for a cleaning and check-up, although individual requirements vary. Some patients may need routine visits every three months, and others may need every six months. Our office extends the courtesy of contacting you when it is time for your check-up. However, should we fail to do so, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure regular visits are not forgotten or missed.