Apart from the common dental plaque, dental calculus or tartar is the other dental issue. The hardened dental plaque formed through the deposition of minerals is referred as dental calculus. It is yellow or brown in color. Avoiding proper brushing and flossing or neglecting removal of plaque often promotes dental calculus or tartar. However, it should be treated immediately, otherwise many other dental problems like gum inflammation, gum recession, tooth decay and so on may result.
Dental tartar may be formed above or below the gum margin. Calculus which is formed above the gum margin is termed as supra-gingival calculus. It is easily visible and hence, you can consult the dentist immediately to have treatment. However, calculus formed below the gum margin, often called as sub-gingival calculus, cannot be seen as it is present between the teeth and gums. The plaque is formed below the gum margin and cannot be easily cleaned by a toothbrush. In addition, you can only be aware of its presence only with the reveal of any serious dental problem like periodontitis. The most common material of the deposition includes calcium phosphate which is very hard and insoluble.
Unlike dental plaque, tartar cannot be removed easily by simple brushing or flossing. A professional dental cleaning by a dentist is only possible way to remove the tartar as it is very hard. Special instruments are used for cleaning the teeth and to remove the tartar and this process is referred as tooth scaling. Taking certain steps to prevent plaque formation avoids problems with tartar. Anyhow, once the tartar is formed, it is better to go to dentist for treatment. Certain tartar control toothpastes are also available which prevent dental calculus.