When you visit your Leawood, KS, dentist, you may hear the words plaque and tartar, two things that can compromise your oral health. In fact, if left untreated, a buildup of plaque can lead to gum disease. And if that is not treated early, it could lead to a whole host of other issues that will require more intensive dental work. For today’s blog post, let us explore what plaque and tartar are and what we, and you, can do to prevent it from accumulating on your teeth.  

What Exactly Is Plaque, And Why Should I Worry About It?

Plaque is a colorless and sticky film of bacteria. It is always forming on your teeth and gum line, and the best way to remove it is with diligent brushing and flossing. Because it contains bacteria, if it is left untreated, it may lead to cavities and gum disease. Also, if it is not removed, it will harden and become tartar. This attaches to your tooth’s enamel, above and below the gum line. While you can remove plaque with brushing and flossing, only a dentist can completely remove tartar.

What Are Some Other Issues With Plaque and Tartar?

Over time, as tartar builds up, plaque will form on it and may cause gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease. Signs of gingivitis include tender or red gums, bleeding when brushing, and consistent bad breath. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with your Leawood, KS, dentist so that we can address and treat the issue. 

What Happens If I Do Not Treat It Early?

Detecting gingivitis early will help prevent further oral health issues. However, if it is not treated quickly, then you may experience periodontitis. This is where infection occurs in the pockets around your teeth. When this happens, you will need to see your dentist for a scaling and root planing procedure so that we can save your teeth. With scaling, we will remove the tartar from your teeth, both above and below the gum line. Then we will smooth out the roots (planing) so that it is more difficult for bacteria to attach to them. 

Is There Anything I Can Do?

Everyone experiences plaque in their lives, and the best thing you can do is to continue good dental habits, like twice-a-day brushing and once-a-day flossing. Additionally, schedule regular checkups and cleanings with us so that together we can maintain your oral health.

Schedule An Appointment With Us 

Concerned that you may have a buildup of plaque on your teeth? We can help with a deep cleaning. To learn more, schedule an appointment with us by calling Dreem Dentistry in Leawood, KS, today at 913-681-5500. We also serve patients who live in Overland Park and all surrounding communities.