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Calculus or plaque?

Hi, I’m a new hygienist and have a silly question. In hygiene school it seems we either had patients with fairly clean mouths or perio patients. So in my mind, calculus means black, hard, sometimes tenacious and subgingival. Now in offices I temp at there are usually templates for my clinical notes when I’m done with my patient. It asks for the locations of calculus and plaque separately and I’ve been looking at other hygienists’ notes. So calculus can be interproximal and not dark-colored? Or am I not scaling deep enough on my regular adult prophies? I know what calculus looks like in the mand anterior area (supra), its the interproximal that I’m questioning if its plaque or calculus so I know my clinical notes are accurate. Thanks for any help!



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1 Answer

Calculus is hardened plaque. It isn’t always black or tenacious. Calculus can be anywhere in the mouth, including interproximal, where the plaque wasn’t properly removed with homecare and left to harden. When you use an explorer or use a non-working stroke over it, it feels like a “speed bump,” plaque won’t feel like that because it’s mushy. Calculus on the mandibular lower anteriors is the same that can be interproximal either subgingival or supragingival. I hope this helps!

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