Using a Dental Mirror to Detect Tartar on Your Teeth

While standing in front of a wall mirror, with flashlight and dental mirror in hand, place the dental mirror in the mouth behind the lower front teeth. Position the dental mirror so the reflection of the backs of the lower front teeth on the dental mirror can be seen on the wall mirror. Then aim the flashlight at the dental mirror so that it illuminates the tooth backs. It takes a little practice but is easy to do once you get the hang of it. The hard part is holding your breath during your evaluation, so that the dental mirror does not fog up. Tartar deposits tend to form at the bottoms and up along the sides of the teeth. They generally build first and more extensively on the backs of the teeth. Tartar is the hard material that dental hygienists remove through the processes of scaling and polishing.

Depending on the extent of the initial tartar deposits and their age, examination of the teeth (with mirrors and flashlight) should reveal a significant/total removal of existent tartar within a week. Monitoring a tartar-free maintenance program involves the same oversight procedure and observing no tartar buildup.