Routine Dental Exam

Visit your dental provider regularly for a routine dental exam. Your routine dental exam could include X-rays, a gum health assessment, a dental cleaning, and an exam done by the dental provider to diagnose any cavities. Depending on the results of your oral health check-up, you may have to see your provider more often.

Be sure to bring a full list of medications and supplements that you are taking. They may influence your oral health and it is important for your dental provider to be aware of them.

Gum Health Assessment

During your dental visit, the dentist will perform a gum health assessment. After the assessment, the dental provider 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).

Additional treatments may be recommended by your dental provider such as a rinse with a prescription mouth wash, or an antibacterial inserted into diseased gums. Know all your options and consult with your dental provider.

Types of Dental Cleanings

A regular dental cleaning (prophylaxis) is recommended for those who have healthy gums and minimal tartar buildup on the teeth and above the gums. A 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.

Natural to the process of aging, one may experience wear and tear of teeth, mild loss of bone support for teeth (resulting in loose teeth). and various other changes in ability to chew and taste certain foods.  Regular visits to a dental provider and timely dental care can help maintain a healthy mouth and teeth. Women may experience changes in their bones earlier in life after menopause. Talk to your doctor about bone health as you near menopause.

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 Covers Dental Care for Seniors

As a Medi-Cal member, your benefits include dental coverage at little or no cost to you. If you are uninsured, you also have options for dental care.  Click on Find a Dentist and Paying for Dental Care for more information.

As of May 1, 2022, adults 50 years of age or older who are currently enrolled in restricted scope Medi-Cal (often called Emergency Medi-Cal) are eligible for full scope Medi-Cal benefits. Immigration status does not matter, but all other Medi-Cal eligibility rules still apply.

With full scope Medi-Cal, you are now eligible to receive all dental treatments covered by the Medi-Cal Dental Program. Full scope Medi-​Cal also covers medical, mental health, vision care, substance use treatment services, and long-term care. Click here to learn more.

Ride Services to Medical and Dental Visits

Seeing the dentist regularly for checkups and a dental cleaning can help prevent infections and other dental problems. Routine dental visits can help identify and treat dental problems before they become painful, costly, and lead to health problems.

Getting to a dental or medical appointment may be difficult for some people as they age. Transportation services are available in Orange County to help individuals get to their non-emergency medical and dental appointments. Click on “More Information” below for local transportation resources. You can also contact your dental or medical provider for more information.