Calculus, dental

A hard, crust-like deposit (also known as tartar) found on the crowns and roots of the teeth. Calculus forms when mineral salts in saliva are deposited in existing plaque. Supragingival calculus is a yellowish or white deposit that forms above the gum margin, on the crowns of teeth near the openings of salivary gland ducts. Subgingival calculus forms below the gum margin and is brown or black. Toxins in calculus cause gum inflammation (see gingivitis), which may progress to destruction of the supporting tissues (see periodontitis). Calculus is removed by professional scaling. Attention to oral hygiene reduces recurrence.


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