What is Calculus Bridge?
Calculus Bridge is an accumulation of oral debris that grows out of control.
Calculus is also known as tartar, a yellowish or whitish deposit of minerals that forms on the surface of the tooth due to the hardening of the plaque. Since the teeth are always bathed in saliva, calculus formation occurs in a little as few weeks. Research shows it can occur within 1-14 days of plaque formation.(1)
Plaque formation initially occurs due to saliva and it develops into calculus due to the constant accumulation of minerals present in the calculus. The calculus is commonly seen occurring on the anterior teeth and sometimes in the upper molar. This is because the salivary gland ducts are located next to these teeth surfaces.
A severe build-up of calculus leads to the formation of the Calculus Bridge. It grows to such an extent that it covers the teeth and spaces in between.
The calculus can stain the teeth and affect the tissue below the gum line and lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
Side Effects of Calculus Bridge
Calculi present in the teeth are noticeable. The Calculus Bridge can lead to the following side effects:
Halitosis: Bad breath or smell from the mouth is known as halitosis. Plaque build-up can make the mouth smell really bad.
Gingivitis: Calculus can further infect the gums and make them appear red or inflamed. The first sign experienced is bleeding from the gums while brushing or flossing.
This if left untreated can lead to a serious gum disease known as periodontitis.
Receding Gums: Receding gums is a type of periodontal disease, in which the gums start receding exposing more of the teeth. This allows the bacteria to creep in the space between the gums and teeth.
Cavities: The tartar build-up shields the bacteria from being removed while brushing.
Plaque and tartar cause tiny holes in the enamel of the teeth. This causes the bacteria to slide down or seep deep into the tooth. This can lead to cavities.
Tooth Loss: An untreated dental calculus can lead to gum disease that can further lead to tooth loss.
Calculus Bridge Removal
It is imperative to remove the calculus as it is loaded with bacteria.
Once the calcified bridge of plaque develops, it cannot be removed by brushing. You need to visit a dental health professional to get it removed. The dentist can help remove most or all of it.
If the calculus has reached below the gum line, just cleaning would be of no help. The hardened plaque from around the gum line needs to be removed with the help of a dental scaler, an instrument with a small hook at the end. This is called scaling.
After scaling the areas around the root surface need to be smoothed out. This is called root planning.
For an extensive dental calculus, more than one session with the dentist is needed. There may be soreness in the gums after this extensive cleaning.
How To Prevent The Formation Of The Calculus Bridge?
To prevent the build-up of calculus, dental hygiene is important.
As dental calculus starts building up within a few days of plaque formation, it is therefore, very important to remove the plaque as it starts forming.
To keep the mouth healthy and free from tartar, the important tips are:
- Brush teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you give at least 2 minutes of your time while brushing.
- Clean the area in between the teeth. This is called interdental cleaning. It includes flossing or using another tool to clear the debris that might be present between the teeth.
- Limit the intake of drinks and snacks that are high in sugar. This would cut short the opportunity for the bacteria to mingle with sugar in the mouth and increase plaque formation.
- Go to a dentist for regular check-ups.
There are numerous strategies that can prevent tartar or calculus formation. Make sure you maintain proper dental hygiene and visit your dentist for regular dental checkups.