Preventive Dental Care Visits

Visit a dental professional twice a year for a routine dental exam. Your routine dental exam may include X-rays, a gum health assessment, a dental cleaning, and an evaluation to diagnose cavities and the risk of developing other oral problems.

A dentist or hygienist will likely discuss your diet and oral hygiene habits and may demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques.

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. The two most commonly offered cleanings are a regular dental cleaning (prophylaxis) or a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing). Other treatments may be suggested by your dental provider such as the placement of an antimicrobial underneath the gum, or the use of a prescription mouth rinse after your dental cleaning. Know all your options and consult with your dental provider.

Types of Dental Cleanings

The regular cleaning is recommended for those who have healthy gums and minimal tartar build-up above the gum-line. The deep cleaning 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 every 3-5 months.

Dental Treatments for Individuals with Special Needs

Depending on the patient’s disability, if extensive treatment is required, the dental provider may refer you to a specialist who can treat the patient under conscious sedation or general anesthesia.

Individuals who suffer from a developmental disability, such as Down’s Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy are more prone to periodontal (gum) disease due to the challenges faced in effectively brushing their teeth daily and as a side effect of other medications they might be taking. Routine visits to a dental provider (every 3-4 months) for cleanings also known as a ‘full mouth debridement,’ may be recommended.

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.

Medi-Cal Has Dental Covered

If your child has Medi-Cal, they also have dental coverage. The Medi-Cal Dental Program covers a full range of dental services up to age 19.  If you have not yet found a dental home for your child, click here to find a Medi-Cal Dental Provider in Orange County. If you have Medi-Cal and are an adult, Medi-Cal Dental has also restored benefits for many dental services that are now available.  Click on “more information” below for additional Medi-Cal Dental resources.