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The Facts on Plaque, Tartar and Gum Disease

Alison is committed to taking care of your teeth and gums.  Regular check-ups at the dentist are important in addition to having your teeth professionally cleaned.

You need to develop and practice good oral hygiene habits at home that are easy and do not take long.  The result will be healthier teeth and gums.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that is consistently forming on teeth.  It begins to form on your teeth four to twelve hours after brushing and flossing.  Saliva, food and fluids combine to produce these deposits that collect on teeth and where teeth and gums meet.


What is Tartar? (Also referred to as Calculus)

Plaque can harden into tartar above and below the gum line, when not removed by regular brushing and flossing.  Tartar is essentially calcified (hard) plaque, is white to yellow-white and forms most notably inside the front teeth close to the gums.

Unlike plaque, brushing or flossing cannot remove tartar once it has hardened, which then gets in the way of cleaning between the teeth.

Tartar has a rough surface and provides a haven for more plaque and bacteria to collect and grow.  So tartar makes it difficult to remove new plaque and bacteria.  This can lead to the build up of more tartar


Why Plaque and Tartar need to be removed

There is a cycle that forms between bacteria, plaque and tartar that, if left alone can result in cavities and gum disease.

How it Works?

  • Bacteria forms plaque.
  • Plaque hardens into tartar and when it does, is harder to get at.  Because tartar has a rough surface, it provides a haven for more plaque and bacteria to collect and grow
  • The plaque attached to the tooth produces acids and more bacteria.  This eats away at the tooth which can lead to cavities and gum disease

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is the major cause of tooth loss in adults.  The accumulation of plaque around the tooth and gum is the major cause of periodontal disease.  Plaque turns into tartar and promotes bacterial infection on the tooth and the gum where it attaches.  Gum disease is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in humans.


Gingivitis: Mild inflammations of the gums caused by plaque buildup.  Gums may be red, swollen or sore and may bleed upon brushing and flossing.

Periodontitis : If left untreated, the gum infection may damage the supporting bone and tissues.  The gum separates from the tooth and the bone level deteriorates.


Teeth whitening is a highly effective and affordable procedure that lightens and whitens teeth and leaves them feeling ultra clean.

Procedure:  After the gums have been carefully protected a strong whitening solution is placed on your teeth.  The solution is light activated and kept in place for about and hour.  This may need to be repeated in order to achieve the maximum results.  The ability of your teeth to whiten will determine the number of treatments required.

NOTE: In order to achieve your brightest smile I would strongly recommend a cleaning prior to whitening.  I can definitely provide this service for you which is covered by the majority of insurance companies or you can make arrangements at your dental office to have this done before your whitening session.

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