How To Spot Calculus

The last time I went to a checkup with my dentist, he said nothing was wrong, but while I am here, he would just quickly remove some calculus. I got scared for a moment. Calculus?

I had heard of it before, but I suddenly had a lot of questions. How did I not catch it? Where is it? Why is it there? My dentist took the time to explain a few things to me then, and I would like to relay that information to you, dear reader.

What Is Calculus?

Aside form a branch of mathematics, calculus is also a thin layer of calcified plaque, which is colorless and almost invisible to the naked eye. You can feel it though with your tongue, on the surface of teeth and crowns. It is made mostly of food detritus, and the saliva in your mouth calcifies it. This hardens plaque, and this hardened material is calculus. Mostly the teeth that are near the salivary glands develop them, the canines and the teeth next to them.

How Harmful Is It?

It is quite harmful. Scientific evidence proves that it causes gum recession, periodontitis, and can cause alveolitis as well. Plaque and calculus cause the gums to swell or recede and become inflamed, and can start bleeding as well. Halitosis is also frequently associated with plaque and calculus.


Regular at home oral health care can manage calculus, and can even reduce its presence. If you already have it though, you need to have it removed professionally. And that can only be done by a professional, namely a dentist or oral hygienist.


Tackling Calculus

There is more than one method for tackling this problem. Although synonymous to many people, plaque removal and a hygiene session are not exactly the same thing. Removal of calcified plaque happens with an ultrasonic machine, called a depurator. This will remove all of the surface plaque and the brownish greyish calculus from beneath the gum line. A hygiene session also entails a polishing, and a fine dust cleans off only the tooth surface and the tiny cracks and dents that are in it as well.

When Should You Remove Calculus?

If there is calculus to speak of, then it is time to remove it, as plaque can cause serious dental problems later on. If you do get it removed, you should also get a polishing, as this will deep clean your tooth surface as well. Our teeth often become discolored because of bacteria and food detritus getting caught in the microscopic grooves on our enamel, and this damages our enamel. You cannot remove this with at home oral care, and it requires an intervention from the dentist. Not only will our teeth look whiter afterwards, but inflammation of the gums can also be cured with a good polishing.

Calculus accumulates over time, so going once every six months to remove it is plenty enough. It is invisible for longer, but should be removed latest every year. When you go for your half year check up, you should ask your dentist if there is any calculus to remove, or if you have any further questions about the topic.

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