What Is a Calculus Bridge?

calculus bridge
calculus bridge

Do you immediately brush your teeth after eating? If not, you might start to notice that your teeth start to get coated in a thin, sticky film. Plaque can turn into tartar, also known as calculus if it is not removed by brushing and flossing.

It can create a calculus bridge by coating several teeth. To ensure that the condition of your teeth and gums is not harmed, you must have that hardened calculus removed at your dentist’s office.

How plaque can become a calculus bridge

Your teeth can easily develop plaque. Soon after you eat or drink something, usually something starchy or sugary, a sticky film forms.

By combining with the bacteria in your mouth, the food residue releases acids that break down the carbohydrates in your food and beverages. A mixture of bacteria, acids, and carbohydrates is now forming a colorless layer over your teeth. It’s a plaque.

The process doesn’t end there, though. The plaque won’t disappear on its own. If you don’t immediately brush and floss your teeth to get rid of the sticky film, it may eventually harden into tartar.

Dental calculus is another name for this hardened dental plaque. Additionally, the procedure doesn’t take very long. According to research, it happens between one and fourteen days. Plaque formation from a reliable source.

Because tartar doesn’t just stay on your teeth, it’s risky. It may start to spread and advance toward your gum line. The calculus, which can discolor and make your teeth appear tan or brown, can harm the tissue just below your gum line, leading to gum disease and tooth decay.

calculus bridge
calculus bridge

Photo of calculus bridge

A calculus bridge can differ in appearance from person to person due to the amount of tartar buildup that can vary from mouth to mouth.

A calculus bridge typically looks like a brown or tan border along the edge of your teeth by your gumline. In more severe situations, it might go deeper into the gum line or farther up the tooth surface.

Side effects of a calculus bridge

Your teeth may have a noticeable appearance if they have a thick layer of calculus. The following conditions can also result from a dental calculus bridge:


Your breath may smell due to tartar buildup and plaque. Halitosis is the name given to this condition.


Your gums might swell up or turn red. If you experience any bleeding while flossing or brushing your teeth, you might first notice it there. It can develop into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease, if untreated.

Receding gums

Periodontal disease also includes receding gums. Your gums may start to pull away from your teeth, exposing more of them and creating spaces for bacteria to enter between your gums and teeth.


Your toothbrush can’t reach bacteria because of the tartar that forms on your teeth. Your teeth’s enamel may develop small holes due to plaque and tartar buildup, which would allow bacteria and acid to penetrate the tooth and cause cavities.

Tooth loss

If dental calculus is left untreated, gum disease may develop, which could ultimately result in the loss of one or more teeth.

Calculus bridge removal

You can’t brush off calculus or calcified plaque once it has formed a bridge on your teeth. It must be taken out by a dentist or dental hygienist. Sometimes a thorough cleaning by a professional will get rid of all or most of it.

The calculus won’t be removed by a professional cleaning if it has penetrated into or below the gum line.

At that point, a dental hygienist might carefully scrape and remove the hardened plaque and tartar from the area around your gumline using a hand-held instrument called a dental scaler that has a small hook on the end.

After scaling your teeth, the hygienist might perform a procedure known as root planing to smooth out irregularities on the root surfaces. Ultrasonic devices can also be used to get rid of calculus buildup.

It might require more than one session to remove all of the dental calculus if it is extensive. After this thorough cleaning, your gums might be sore.

How to prevent a calculus bridge

When it comes to preventing the buildup of tartar and the creation of a calculus bridge, dental hygiene is essential.

You’ll want to be vigilant about cleaning plaque before it gets to that point because dental calculus can begin to build up just a few days after it forms.

The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests the following actions maintain a healthy, tartar-free mouth:

  1. Use a fluoride-containing toothpaste to give your teeth a thorough brushing twice daily. Make sure you brush for a full 2 minutes each time.
  2. Every day, brush in between your teeth. Interdental cleaning, which is the process of removing debris from between your teeth, may involve using floss or another tool.
  3. Cut back on sugary foods and beverages. If you consume fewer sugary foods, there will be less opportunity for oral bacteria to combine with any sugar residue and form plaque on your teeth.
  4. Regularly visit a dentist for a checkup. A dentist can carefully examine your teeth and gums for indications of tooth decay and gum disease, such as gingivitis or receding gums. They can also become familiar with your routines and offer suggestions for methods that might make it easier for you to maintain them.

Some studies also suggest that using a tartar-control toothpaste can aid in preventing the buildup of tartar that can result in the formation of a calculus bridge, including a 2008 double-blind clinical trial and a 2013 review of more than 30 studies (Trusted Source).

Look for toothpaste that contains both fluoride and triclosan, as studies suggest that these ingredients may help to combat plaque-causing bacteria.