Professional oral hygiene is the removal of dental plaque and tartar, as well as the polishing of teeth surfaces and restorations. After the oral hygiene procedure, the dental hygienist educates the patient on how to properly care for their teeth, including the use of appropriate tools and techniques.

Dental calculus

Dental calculus most commonly accumulates in between teeth, on the surfaces of teeth, in dental fissures, and near the gum line. Dental calculus is mineralized plaque that builds up on teeth due to various reasons, including:

  • Irregular or inadequate tooth cleaning (or lack thereof);
  • Improper dental care tools;
  • Composition of saliva enzymes;
  • Malocclusion or misalignment of teeth;
  • Uneven chewing of food (when one side of the jaw is predominantly used);
  • Genetic predisposition.

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There are several types of dental calculus:

  • Supragingival calculus – easily visible and clearly noticeable. It often forms on the inner side (tongue side) of the lower front teeth and on the cheek side of the upper molars.
  • Subgingival calculus – mainly accumulates in dental pockets and gingival sulci. It is difficult to detect and is usually diagnosed during dental examinations. Subgingival calculus is removed using specialized instruments in a dental clinic.

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Why is professional oral hygiene necessary?

Dental calculus (tartar) is dangerous because it harbors microorganisms that can cause various dental and gum diseases (e.g., tooth decay).

Most people do not give sufficient attention to oral care, often due to rushing and a fast-paced lifestyle, pushing dental care to the backburner. However, even when sufficient time is dedicated to oral care, teeth are often not properly cleaned. Therefore, it is recommended to visit a dental clinic for professional oral hygiene at least twice a year. Regular visits to a dental hygienist can help prevent dental and gum diseases, resulting in saved time and money that would otherwise be spent on treating various dental and gum problems. The importance of professional oral hygiene is highlighted by the following reasons:

  • Not all deposits can be removed with a toothbrush. When deposits are not properly cleaned, they harden and form dental calculus. Dental calculus becomes an ideal niche for bacteria, which can cause tooth decay, oral mucosa, and periodontal diseases.
  • Accumulated deposits are visible to the naked eye. Pigment substances can be absorbed into the deposits, leading to a darkening of tooth color by several shades, and bad breath may also occur.
  • Inadequate oral care creates a favorable environment for the development of infections. Clinical studies in recent decades have confirmed that gum inflammation can be a cause of diabetes and heart diseases.

Sequence of a dental hygiene procedure:

  • Removal of plaque and tartar using a specialized ultrasonic device.
  • Manual removal of tartar using hand instruments.
  • Air-polishing with a fine abrasive material to remove deposits in hard-to-reach areas and eliminate stains caused by tea, coffee, colored foods, smoking, etc.
  • Teeth polishing with a special paste.

In rare cases, patients may experience discomfort and tooth sensitivity during the plaque removal procedure, which can be due to an advanced inflammatory process in the mouth. In such cases, the teeth can be numbed using local anesthesia.

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