What is Dental Tartar?

Family dentist using dental tools to remove tartar from woman's teeth


You work with your family dentist to help keep your teeth and gums healthy, strong, and looking great. One thing that can really affect your smile is dental tartar. You’ve probably heard of tartar before, whether from your dentist or on the label of your favorite toothpaste. However, what exactly is it and why is it important to stop tartar? We’ll explore this and more in this blog. Read on to learn more about dental tartar and how to protect your dental health.

Talk to Your Family Dentist About Preventing Dental Tartar

Father and son brushing teeth to prevent tartar according to their family dentist's instructions
Your family dentist usually recommends daily flossing and twice daily brushing to fight dental tartar.

Everyone is at risk for dental tartar, which can cause serious issues for your smile. Tartar can cause discoloration, decay, gum irritation, and even gum disease. Therefore, it’s important to consider how you can prevent dental tartar buildup on your teeth. 

Of course, your best source for learning how to protect your smile from tartar is your family dentist. They can help you based on your individual circumstances. However, brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist at least every six months is a great way to prevent tartar buildup that can cause damage to your teeth and gums.

What is Dental Tartar?

You might be wondering what exactly dental tartar is. Many people mistake tartar for plaque. While they are similar, there are several differences. 

Plaque is a clear film that forms on the teeth made of food debris and bacteria. The bacteria in plaque produce acids which can eat away at the enamel of your teeth, eventually causing decay. When you run your tongue over your teeth and they feel fuzzy, this means you have plaque on your teeth. You can remove plaque with floss and a toothbrush, which is why it’s so important to brush and floss frequently. 

By contrast, dental tartar is what happens when you don’t remove plaque well enough or often enough. Tartar is a mix of plaque and the minerals from your saliva, which forms an incredibly tough buildup that can be like concrete on your teeth. Brushing and flossing doesn’t remove tartar because it’s so hard. Tartar is also often yellow or brown colored and can stain your teeth over time. It also increases your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, especially since it can make it harder to floss and brush properly.

Unfortunately, most adults experience some amount of dental tartar buildup. You might even have tartar if you brush twice a day and floss every day. Only your family dentist can remove tartar using special tools to scrape it away. That’s one reason it’s important to see your dentist at least twice a year for dental cleanings – to help remove any tartar and plaque on your teeth that can cause lasting damage.

How Your Family Dentist Removes Tartar

Tartar removal usually involves a scaling tool, which is metal and looks like it has a hook at the end. This allows the dental team to manually remove the tartar stuck to your teeth to protect your smile. 

However, in some cases you might have extreme tartar buildup, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist. In these cases, you may need a deep cleaning, which usually involves a procedure called debridement. Typically, this means you will receive local anesthesia to numb your mouth while your family dentist removes significant tartar buildup from your teeth and gums using an ultrasonic device. This uses vibration and streams of water to tackle tartar. Once removed, the dentist can work with you to find solutions to prevent severe tartar buildup. This might include upping your daily dental hygiene routines or even coming in for cleanings more frequently to keep your teeth healthy.

The ToothBooth Family & Cosmetic Dentistry – Your Trusted Dentist in Katy, Texas

When you need a quality dentist in Katy, Texas, choose our team at The ToothBooth. Our dentist, Dr. Taha, DDS offers years of experience to help you keep your smile healthy and looking great. We offer a wide range of services to help you prevent and treat oral health issues, from tartar buildup and cavities to teeth whitening and veneers. When you need an emergency dentist near you, you can also trust our team for immediate care to protect your dental health. Call us now at (832) 437-0841 to schedule an appointment!