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Subgingival calculus on X-rays

How long does it take in between recall appointments for subgingival calculus to show up on X-rays? Is this different for each patient depending on how quickly they build up?



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6 Answers

On the flip side: I have seen patients that show no calculus on x-rays but in all actuality there is heavy generalized IP sub.

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It really does depend on the patient. Saliva chemistry has a lot to do with it (calcium and phosphate levels, etc.). Some patients can build calculus in 24 hours without plaque disruption whereas some just don’t build calculus at all. I have one patient in particular that has 3 month recalls and always has radiographic calculus. I’ve educated her to death, but yet she keeps presenting with it!

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I also think it depends on the patient. I have patients that will show up at 3 month recalls looking like it’s been years since their teeth were cleaned, and others that are the exact opposite.

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I think it depends on the patient. I have a 3 mo recall patient that has calculus on her occlusal surfaces at every appt and swears she brushes 2x a day, then I’ll have patients that don’t floss and may not even brush daily that only come when they feel like it and don’t have calculus (but tons of plaque)! Very frustrating! Some people have hard tenacious calculus that comes off in tiny flecks and others that come off in huge chunks very easily. Nobody seems to follow “the book”.

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I think it does depend on the patient…but would be interested to hear what others think.

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I agree with KaraRDH about saliva chemistry. Some calculus will show up on radiographs and some will not. I can’t wait until more saliva testing comes to the market.

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