Teeth tartar, also called dental calculus, is a form of hardened dental plaque and is formed on the surfaces of the teeth and the gingival border.
According to its location it is divided into:
Supragingival calculus can be observed on the clinical crown of the teeth, around the gingival margin ( gumline) . Its color is different - from light yellow to dark brown. It is darker among smokers and when it has been present for a long time. It has a softer texture and is easier tobe cleaned than the tartar that is underneath the gumline. Most and earliest tartar is accumulated in the areas around the openings of the salivary glands, in the inner ( lingual ) surfaces of the lower front teeth and on the buccal surfaces of the upper 1st and 2nd molars and the posterior surfaces of the the last molars.
Subgingival calculus is formed below the gumline and is accumulated in the direction of the bone, respectively, under the gums or in the periodontal pocket in already existing inflammation. Subgingival tartar is difficult to be detected even during a clinical examination. It is located deep in the gingival pocket, has a serum origin and is quite difficult to be cleaned. Subgingival tartar is harder than supragingival tartar, is dark in color and tightly attached to the tooth surface.
In essence, tartar is a mineralized dental plaque. The inorganic part is composed mainly of calcium and phosphate salts, less magnesium and micro elements. There is also an organic part, containing desquamated epithelial cells, leucocytes, food debris and various microorganisms. The composition of the organic matter corresponds to that of the dental plaque. Tartar has less hardness than tooth enamel. Tartar has a porous structure similar to that of the bone, enamel or dentin. The mineral components of subgingival tartar come mainly from the saliva, and the supragingival tartar - from serum salts.
The tartar itself is not toxic. But its rough surface is an ideal place for retention of microbes, and its porous structure makes it a reservoir for bacterial toxins and antigens, which act in addition to the disturbances it causes at the sites of epithelial attachment to the tooth and mechanical irritation. It is a constant source of inflammation and gingivitis, causing resorption of the alveolar bone and subsequent tooth loss. On the other hand, the inflammation creates conditions for additional accumulation of tartar, which subsequently intensifies even more at a later stage. A vicious circle is created. In the process of tartar formation, а white or yellowish colouring begins to be observed, which may turn black under the action of some external agents. Ugly and unwanted formations are obtained from an aesthetic point of view.