Many people think of the dentist as a place to go to have the teeth fixed when dental damage has occurred. However, the primary goal of professional dental care is to act as a preventative measure that protects the teeth and gums from serious damage and oral health complications.
Dental exams and cleanings are some of the most important dental services available. At a routine cleaning, patients can have the teeth cleaned of potentially damaging plaque and tartar. This helps patients avoid the need for restorative dentistry treatments to rebuild the strength and structure of the teeth.
Although plaque and tartar are two terms that are frequently thrown around at the dentist, the truth is that most patients don’t really know exactly what plaque and tartar are.
Here, patients can learn about the key differences regarding plaque vs. tartar, and how our Lake Jackson, TX patients can rely on the services offered at Bell Dental to protect the teeth from both of these substances.
What Is Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky film that builds up on the teeth throughout the day. Plaque contains millions of bacteria that thrive on sugars and starches left behind by the foods and beverages a person consumes.
Since bacteria produce acids that will eat away at healthy tooth enamel, it is important to keep plaque under control. Fortunately, plaque is pretty easy to manage.
The following habits will help patients minimize plaque buildup and protect the tooth’s outer layer of enamel:
- Brush at least twice a day
- Floss each night
- Avoid foods and beverages that are high in sugars
- Drink plenty of water, especially after meals
What Is Tartar?
Tartar is a hard, sticky film that builds up on the teeth over time. Also known as calculus, tartar is plaque that is left on the teeth until it has hardened into a stronger, more durable substance.
Tartar creates an ideal surface for bacteria to thrive, which further increases the risk of tooth decay and other dental complications.
Unfortunately, since tartar is so much harder than plaque, it cannot be brushed or flossed away at home. The only way to effectively remove tartar from the teeth is by undergoing a professional dental cleaning.
Using a dental scraper, our dentists can remove tartar and restore a clean oral environment. It is important to schedule dental exams and cleanings regularly (at least once every six months), so that plaque and tartar can be removed before they cause serious damage to the structure of the teeth.
Repairing Dental Damage
Ideally, with regular, professional dental care, patients can eliminate plaque and tartar before dental damage occurs. However, if healthy tooth enamel is lost to plaque or tartar, there are still plenty of dental treatments available to restore the strength and health of the tooth.
At Bell Dental, we are happy to offer a wide range of restorative dentistry treatments, including dental fillings and dental crowns, that allow our patients to enjoy a strong, healthy, and fully-functioning smile. We can customize a treatment plan based on each of our patient’s unique oral health needs.
Whether you are concerned about the health of your teeth, or are simply looking for a trusted dentist to perform a professional dental cleaning, you will find the care you need at Bell Dental. To learn more about our comprehensive range of dental services, contact us at your earliest convenience.