Dr. Maegan Elam of Bedford, Texas, is a general dentist who ensures that patients have access to preventative care. One preventive measure towards keeping the smile healthy is regular, professional teeth cleaning performed by our dental hygienists.
The dentist and dental hygienists are the only people who can remove plaque and tartar from teeth. Tartar also called calculus (the scientific name), is formed when calcium and phosphate bind together in saliva and crystallize on teeth. Some patients might even notice buildup along the gum line and start to lose some of their natural tooth color as a result.
Left undetected and untreated, tartar eventually forms a hard deposit that may cause:
These problems are more likely to occur if you have gum disease and may be related. If tartar is allowed to build up, it also can cause your gums to pull away from the root of your teeth. This process is known as gum recession. That exposes sensitive areas of your teeth roots and allows bacteria to invade deeper layers of your gums and bones, holding the teeth in place. The bacteria enter through an opening around an infected tooth (periodontal pocket) or by traveling through your bloodstream. If this happens, even one decaying tooth could trigger serious health problems such as heart disease, strokes, or diabetes.
The general rule is to see your dentist every six months for regular cleanings and exams. Dr. Maegan Elam will advise you on how frequently you need dental cleanings, depending on your age, risk factors, oral hygiene habits, and overall health. If you are at high risk for cavities or gum disease, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits.