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#1
Old 05-27-2008, 11:08 AM
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Self-dentistry - removing plaque build-up

I have a problem with my bottom 4 front teeth - there is always plaque build-up at the back (tongue side). I few weeks ago while flossing a relatively large chunk of build-up loosened, and using a fingernail I was able to scrape off a bit more. It gave me an idea though, could I use any suitable sort of flat pointed surface to scrape it myself? How different would it be from a dentist doing it (aside from being a little harder to see)? I don't have any other dental problems and hate dentists.
#2
Old 05-27-2008, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Down the rabbit, whole!
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IANAD

It sounds like tarter, not plaque - plaque will just brush off in the usual way.

You could try switching to a tarter control toothpaste - that might help reduce the build up a little - however, it sounds like you need a dental cleaning. There's no dentist anywhere that would recommend trying to pry tarter off your teeth yourself - you could injure your gums in a big, bad way.

I suppose you could grab just about anything and start poking at your gums (unfolded paperclip, tweezers, letter opener) but it's probably not a very good idea.
#3
Old 05-27-2008, 11:59 AM
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They sell dental picks at any drug store - Walgreens, CVS, whatever. I have one that is a handy keychain sort of dealy.
#4
Old 05-27-2008, 12:07 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
IANAD

It sounds like tarter, not plaque - plaque will just brush off in the usual way.

You could try switching to a tarter control toothpaste - that might help reduce the build up a little - however, it sounds like you need a dental cleaning. There's no dentist anywhere that would recommend trying to pry tarter off your teeth yourself - you could injure your gums in a big, bad way.

I suppose you could grab just about anything and start poking at your gums (unfolded paperclip, tweezers, letter opener) but it's probably not a very good idea.
Odd, I always thought tartar turned into plaque, but it turns out it's the other way around.
#5
Old 05-27-2008, 12:56 PM
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Location: The swamps of Jersey
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Take it from someone who just had dental surgery on their gums - get over your fear/hatred of the dentist, or find a better dentist and go get your teeth cleaned.
Go regularly. Floss everyday. Brush 3 times a day (if practical?). Use tarter protection toothpaste and mouthwash. Learn from my hindsight, it's better in the long run to take care of your teeth properly.

"Ignore your teeth and they'll go away"
#6
Old 05-27-2008, 01:08 PM
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Find a good dentist and go. If you're getting that kind of tartar buildup on flat tooth surfaces, your gums probably need attention.

I get the same kind of buildup between those front teeth. I can remove it with dental floss, so you don't need something really hard to do it. Seems like it'd be less likely to damage your teeth & gums with plastic than metal. Just a thought.

My dentist recommended a SonicCare toothbrush. I find that the tartar pops off much more easily (and doesn't build up as much) when I use that.
#7
Old 05-27-2008, 03:36 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
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I use a steel dental pick I got at the drug store. There's no reason not to do it yourself. It's not rocket science.
#8
Old 05-27-2008, 03:41 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SW Arkansas
Posts: 6,187
I also have a set of dental pics that I bought for detail work in modeling. I have been known to give myself a between cleanings touchup. Given the possibility of damage to teeth/gums I'm not going to go on record as recommending that you do so, I'll just say that I have myself.
#9
Old 05-27-2008, 04:45 PM
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Location: Houston
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Sometimes I use a pushpin, but I'm VERY careful and don't go near my gums. I just scrape between the teeth moving from gumline to tooth edge. It's not for everyone. I don't need to now that I go to the dentist regularly.

The dental hygienist does a much better job!
#10
Old 05-27-2008, 05:05 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 140
tartar, not plaque... lol okay learned something.
#11
Old 05-27-2008, 10:07 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinks2Much
They sell dental picks at any drug store - Walgreens, CVS, whatever. I have one that is a handy keychain sort of dealy.
The Brushpicks on that page are wonderful, by the way. My dental hygienist thinks so, too. I have some bridgework, and I find that cleaning between the bridge and gum is easier with the brushpicks than with the floss and loop tool.
#12
Old 05-27-2008, 10:59 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Great Pacific Northwet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni
The Brushpicks on that page are wonderful, by the way. My dental hygienist thinks so, too. I have some bridgework, and I find that cleaning between the bridge and gum is easier with the brushpicks than with the floss and loop tool.
Ooo. I'll have to try that -- I have a permanent wire welded behind my bottom front teeth, which is often a problem spot.


Go to the dentist, dude.

I didn't go for almost eight years. And when I did, they informed me that my gums were in a bad way. I got the full court press with plenty of novocaine (my hygenist is a blessing), plus quarterly cleanings to make sure my gums are recovering and stay that way. I have invested in a sonicare toothbrush since.
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