What is Calculus Bridge? Types, Formation, Side-Effects, & Removal

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If you have a habit of not brushing your teeth after eating or drinking something starchy or sugary, a sticky thin film may begin covering your teeth. This food debris mixes with your mouth bacteria, releasing acids that metabolize the carbohydrates present in your food and drinks. The combination of acids, carbohydrates, and bacteria forms a colorless layer on your teeth. This layer is called plaque, and if you don’t remove it with thorough brushing and flossing, it can turn into a hardened deposit – tartar also called calculus.

And before you know it, the tartar can coat several of your teeth, creating a calculus bridge. You will need to visit your dentist to have this coat removed; otherwise, it can affect your oral health.

What is Calculus Bridge?

Calculus or tartar is a tan, brown-yellowish mineral deposit on the surface of your tooth. Previously hardened plaques are responsible for calculus formation. Calculus develops differently for each individual depending on your saliva’s pH, amount of calcium, and other substances in the saliva. Leaving it untreated, calculus forms a bridge covering multiple teeth, spaces between them, and, even worse, gums.

Types of Calculus Bridge

Supra-gingival

This type of calculus bridge develops above the gum along the gum line, commonly found on the bottom incisors and top molars. This tan or yellow calculus is pretty easy to spot.

Sub-gingival

It is formed between the teeth and gums and is most prominent under the gum. It’s not easy to find this type of calculus bridge, and it requires a dental instrument to detect it. It has a dark color caused by the black-pigmented bacteria.

Side Effects of A Calculus Bridge

Halitosis/Bad breath: The buildup of plaque and bacteria can make your mouth and breath smell.

Gingivitis: The condition, also called gum disease, can cause inflammation of the gums, turning them red. Bleeding during brushing and flossing is the first sign that you may notice. Untreated gingivitis can become severe and progress to periodontitis.

Receding gums: Your gums can begin moving away from your teeth, exposing a greater area of the teeth. This gives the bacteria a chance to capture the gaps between your teeth and gums.

Cavities: The layer of calculus or tartar can protect the bacteria from sweeping away from the toothbrush. Tartar can also cause the formation of small holes in the enamel, giving a door to acid and bacteria to enter into the tooth, causing cavities.

Tooth loss: Leaving dental calculus unattended can cause gum disease leading to the loss of one or more teeth.

Calculus bridge removal

Once the calculus bridge has formed on your teeth, it’s not possible to remove it with bruising. You’ll need to visit your nearest dentist or dental hygienist for professional teeth cleaning, which removes all or most of the calcified plaque.

A calculus bridge that has reached down the gumline cannot be addressed with just professional cleaning. A dental hygienist will use a dental scaler to scrape the plaque and tartar around your gumline.

Next, the areas of root surfaces are smoothed out with a process called root planing.

How to prevent a calculus bridge

ADA recommends following these oral hygiene practices to keep your mouth healthy and free from tartar:

  • Brush daily twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and see if it also contains triclosan. A study suggests using tartar-control toothpaste can also help prevent tartar buildup that causes calculus bridge formation.
  • Use dental floss to clean your teeth.
  • Cut down the intake of sugary and starchy foods.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for checkups.

Do you have any questions regarding the calculus bridge, or would you like to schedule an appointment for teeth cleaning? Feel free to visit or contact your Lake Elsinore dentist.

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