Routine Dental Exams

Visit your dental provider regularly for a routine dental exam. A routine dental exam may include x-rays, a gum health assessment, a dental cleaning, and an exam done by the dental provider to diagnose any cavities. Dental exams can help detect and treat any issues with your teeth or gums before they affect your overall health, become painful, and costly.

Gum Health Assessment

During your dental visit, the dentist will perform a gum health assessment. The dentist will evaluate the gum tissues, color, and texture. The assessment will also monitor any signs of gum problems. After the assessment, the dental professional may recommend a dental cleaning. The two most commonly offered cleanings are a regular dental cleaning (prophylaxis) or a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing).

With today’s dental treatment advancements, there are several different optional procedures a patient can accept (e.g. laser treatment, antimicrobials placed under the gums, etc.). Know all your options and consult with 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 may be 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 Periodontist.

Services providers by these professionals are not limited to a dental clinic. You may be able to receive services in your community, such as a school, a nursing home or from a mobile dental clinic. 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.  As of May 1st, 2022, adults ages 50 and older can receive full scope Medi-Cal services. This include all free or low cost dental services covered by the Medi-Cal Dental Program.

If you are uninsured, you also have options for dental care services. Click on Find a Dentist and Paying for Dental Care for more information.