(conventional periodontal therapy, non-surgical periodontal therapy, or deep cleaning)
Dental plaque is a sticky bacterial biofilm that forms on teeth. It can be light and unnoticeable or dark and difficult to remove. It is built of uncleaned food leftovers populated by microorganisms, whose number is increasing with time. When the plaque is uncleaned over time it undergoes a process of calcification, and it turns into tartar. Tartar is a gold-coloured to brown or even black deposition in the area of the neck of the teeth, with a surface texture similar to chalk and is firmly attached to the tooth surface. It can be located over or below the gum. Tartar is characterized by the fact that its direction of progression is in the direction of the tooth root, and over time it “pushes” the gum and the tooth root is exposed. The tartar and the dental plaque cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and periodontium (periodontitis) and are a constant source of infection in the oral cavity. There are many reasons for its formation, but most common ones are: poor oral hygiene, faulty fillings and crowns, orthodontic anomalies and appliances, medicines for common ailments which change the pH of saliva, etc. A patient can see the light to dark brown colouring at the base of the tooth necks and feel the rough tooth surfaces. The dental plaque and the tartar can be coloured with special tablets or solutions during a dental check-up in order to show the patient as well. What follows is the removal of the dental plaque and the tartar. The cleaning may take one or more visits to the dentist depending on the amount of deposited tartar. This is done through manual hand instruments (used less and less) and mechanical methods (ultrasound).
The method of ultrasonic tartar cleaning is an innovatively painless or only lightly painful, and anaesthesia could be used at the request of the patient. It is done with a special instrument which produces ultrasonic vibrations (ultrasonic scaler). The scaler has a special hand piece that vibrates at a very high frequency. Thus, in contact of the hand piece with the tartar, the tartar is crushed into small pieces, and removed under the effect of vibrations.
In ultrasound cleaning all tooth surfaces are covered with an appropriately selected hand piece, specifically selected vibration frequency and dosed movements. Except for the vibrations, the tip of the scaler sprays water or antiseptic solution, which washes away the broken tartar and provides a good field for work. After removal of the tartar and the plaque, polishing of tooth surfaces is carried out.
It is recommended that tartar removal is done once a year, every six months or more frequently, depending on the accumulation.
In mild inflammation (gingivitis), the removal of tartar and the use of antiseptic solutions for gargling (mouthwash) are sufficient.
In more severe gum disease (periodontitis), tartar removal should be done more often and in combination with curettage.