Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s The Difference?

March 17th, 2017

WE OFTEN GET THE QUESTION from our patients, “What’s the difference between plaque and tartar?” Many people think they are the same thing. There is an important difference between the two, however, and it can help explain just why a daily oral hygiene routine is so crucial, as well as twice-yearly visits to your dentist.

What Is Plaque?

Dental plaque is that soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and under your gums throughout the day. And guess what? It contains millions of bacteria! When you eat—especially carbohydrates or sugar—you’re not the only one getting a meal, so are the bacteria on your teeth. After “eating,” these bacteria produce acids that erode your tooth enamel and cause cavities.

That’s why good daily oral hygiene is essential to preventing tooth decay and protecting your smile from the bacteria in plaque. To prevent plaque buildup, remember to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can also help!


What Is Tartar?

So if that’s plaque, what’s tartar? Tartar is what accumulates on your teeth when plaque is not removed. If plaque is left on your teeth for too long, it will harden into tartar and is much more difficult to remove. In fact, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional–you can’t get rid of it with regular brushing and flossing. Tartar removal is one of the reasons that visiting your dentist every six months is so important!

Plaque buildup that hardens into tartar can cause more than just cavities. It can cause tooth discoloration and sensitivity as well as gum recession and periodontal disease. To reduce tartar formation, make sure you get rid of plaque by brushing and flossing daily.

Orthodontic Treatment Can Help

It is harder to get into those little nooks and crannies between the teeth when they are crooked or crowded, making brushing and flossing more difficult. Overlapping teeth can even trap food particles, leading to more severe plaque buildup and a higher risk of tooth decay. Straight teeth allow for easier brushing and flossing and thus, less plaque!

You Deserve A Beautiful, Healthy Smile

No matter how great your oral hygiene is, plaque and tartar formation are inevitable. So despite your regular visits to the orthodontist, make sure to see your general dentist every six months as well. As dental professionals, it’s our job is to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile that’s plaque- and tarter-free!

Thank you for your trust and loyalty.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Simple Steps To Keep Your Orthodontic Treatment On Track

February 3rd, 2017

THE SUCCESS OF YOUR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT is dependent on a number factors, like your orthodontist or how your teeth respond to braces. It’s important to remember however that a lot of it actually depends on YOU! So, what can you do to make sure you finish your treatment on time and finally get those braces off?

#1. Keep Your Appointments

We know it can be hard to have such frequent appointments when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. But the better you are at keeping your appointments, the faster your treatment time will be! Postponing or cancelling appointments can significantly prolong treatment time. We also ask that you come on time to your appointments. Having enough time to perform planned procedures is essential to your smile’s progress.

#2. Avoid Damage To Your Braces

Damage to your braces will also delay the completion of treatment. To prevent breaking off a bracket or bending any wires, be sure to wear a mouthguard when playing sports. In addition, avoid these foods while wearing braces:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Sticky candy, such as taffy and caramel
  • Ice
  • Hard candy, cookies, or crackers
  • Gum
  • Very sticky or chunky peanut butter

Remember to cut up other foods that can damage braces such as raw fruits and vegetables, pizza crust and other hard breads and corn on the cob.


Top image by Flickr user Kamilla Oliveira used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

#3. Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions

If your unique case calls for orthodontic appliances other than braces, it’s crucial to wear them as prescribed. We most often see patients neglecting to wear their elastics, or rubber bands. In general, you’ll only need to take them off when eating a meal, brushing your teeth or wearing a mouthguard. Failure to wear your elastics consistently can extend your treatment time by a lot! So be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

#4. Be Diligent About Your Oral Hygiene

Healthy teeth are an essential prerequisite for orthodontic treatment. And having healthy teeth during treatment is just as important! Braces can make it harder to keep your teeth clean, so you need to be extra diligent about your oral hygiene when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Cavities and gum disease can complicate and prolong your treatment. So if you want to get those braces off as quickly as possible, brush, floss and visit your dentist every six months!

It Will All Be Worth It!

Going through orthodontic treatment isn’t an easy process, but it is well worth it. By following these simple steps, you can stay on track and get the smile you’ve always wanted! If you have any more questions, call us today. We’re always here for our amazing patients.

Thank you for letting us be a part of your smile journey!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Why Do Teeth Move Even After Braces?

January 20th, 2017

EVERYONE KNOWS THAT the most exciting day for someone with braces is the day they get them off! The final result of a beautiful, straight smile is what makes orthodontic treatment worth it. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping those teeth straight!

Guess What… Teeth Can Move!

Of course it comes to no surprise to an orthodontic patient that teeth can shift over time–that’s exactly what happened during their treatment! Teeth are dynamic and always moving as pressure and force is applied to them, even after you’ve had braces.

Teeth may shift in response to things such as teeth grinding and clenching, numerous dental restorations, tongue thrusting and certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or nail biting. Teeth also move naturally as we grow older and our facial structures change.

Keeping Your Smile Straight Is A Lifelong Commitment

So, what can you do to make sure that your new smile lasts a lifetime? Wear your retainer! It really is that simple. After you’ve finished orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will tell you how often you need to wear your retainer and for how long. Over time, most patients will only need to wear their retainer at night.

It’s especially important to wear your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist immediately after you get your braces off. Your teeth have a sort of “memory” of the way they were aligned before you got your braces on and are more prone to revert back to their original positions right after orthodontic treatment has finished.

When it comes down to it, every orthodontic patient needs to ask themselves, “How long do I want my teeth to be straight?” Whatever the answer is, that’s how long you’ll need to wear your retainer.


Keep Smiling

We love creating beautiful, healthy smiles that our patients can be proud of. There’s nothing better than seeing our patients’ faces light up when they see their straight, new smiles. So keep wearing your retainer and keep up the good work. And most importantly… keep smiling!

We love our patients! Thank you for trusting us with your orthodontic treatment.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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