Routine Dental Exams

Adults should visit a dental provider at least twice a year for routine dental exams and cleanings. It is common for a routine dental exam to consist of check-up x-rays, gum health assessment, and an exam done by the dental professional to diagnose any cavities.  Depending on the result of your oral health check-up, you may have to see your provider more often.

Gum Health Assessment

After the gum health assessment, the dental professional will recommend the type of cleaning best suited for you. With today’s dental treatment advancements, there are several different optional procedures the patient can accept (e.g. laser treatment, antimicrobials placed under the gums, etc.). The two most commonly offered cleanings are a regular dental cleaning (prophylaxis) or a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing). Know all your options and consult your provider as needed.

Types of Dental Cleanings

The regular dental cleaning (prophylaxis) is recommended for patients who have healthy gums and minimal tartar build up above the gums. The deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) is recommended for patients who have gums that may bleed when brushing or flossing, and a moderate buildup of tartar above and below the gums.

After having a deep cleaning, it is important to note that more frequent cleanings are needed to maintain the gums and supporting structures of the mouth in good health. Your dental provider may suggest having dental cleanings done in an interval of 3-5 months.

Care by Dental Professionals Other than a Dentist

A dental provider or dental professional is a licensed individual that can provide dental services to you.  A dental provider is not limited to a Dentist. There are many other types of dental providers. You might receive a preventive dental service from a Registered Dental Hygienist, a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice, or a Dentist.

Services providers by these professionals are also not limited to a dental clinic. You might be able to receive services in your community at a school, a nursing home or a mobile dental van. A few preventive treatments include: a dental cleaning, fluoride varnish application, placement of sealants, and placement of a temporary filling. Restorative treatments can only be provided by a Dentist in a clinical or a community setting; these treatments include: permanent cavity fillings, tooth extractions, root canal therapies, etc.

Find a Medi-Cal Dental Provider

The Medi-Cal Dental Program covers a variety of free or low cost dental services for Medi-Cal members.  Services covered by Medi-Cal Dental may include: exams, x-rays and cleaning. If you are uninsured, you also have options for dental care. Click on Find a Dentist and Paying for Dental Care for more information.