santee dentist

Preventive Dental Care in Santee

Why is preventive dental care So important?

Preventive dental care is the basis of a healthy, beautiful smile. Along with a good daily brushing and flossing routine, regular exams and cleanings can discover and address minor dental problems before they become major, more costly issues. With even just a small, consistent investment in preventive dentistry, you can keep your smile looking and feeling its best.

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Did you know…

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Flossing can help you reach and clean up to 40% more of your tooth surface.

Ready to schedule your appointment?

Call (619) 449-8622

What to expect at your preventive dental care appointment

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Thorough Cleaning

We start your preventive dental appointment with a thorough cleaning of your teeth. During this appointment we gently polish and floss your teeth, cleaning off any tartar, plaque, or bacteria to ensure that your smile stays beautiful, bright, and healthy.

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Necessary X-Rays

We may take x-rays of your mouth if it’s determined that you might have hidden dental health issues, or if you haven’t had x-rays in a while. If necessary, these X-rays can help our team discover any problems that may be hiding in your teeth or below your gumline.

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Comprehensive Exam

We examine by checking for oral health issues such as gum disease, cavities, and any other tissue abnormalities. While looking closely at your teeth, gums, and the rest of your mouth, we also make sure other potential oral health problems can be discovered by inspecting your X-rays for issues.

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Tailored Treatment Plan

After looking for potential problems during the exam, we discuss your overall oral health with you and recommend how we can best resolve and treat any issues. Together, we’ll develop a treatment plan, giving you the best options to fit your lifestyle and budget.

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Schedule Follow-Up Appointment

Whether you need something as simple as a filling, restorative work that’s more complex, or even just a cosmetic treatment, we will schedule a convenient follow-up appointment that fits your schedule. To make sure your smile stays healthy and beautiful, we can also schedule your recommended 6-month cleaning.

Preventive Treatment Options

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Cleaning & Hygiene

Regular dental cleanings allow us to find and address dental issues such as plaque, bacteria, and minor stains, keeping your smile beautiful and healthy. Scheduling a cleaning appointment every 6 months is recommended to help prevent problems.

You should also be maintaining your smile at home with a good oral hygiene regimen. This includes brushing for two minutes, twice a day (at least), with fluoride toothpaste. To remove bacteria, plaque, and food particles that can’t be reached by brushing alone, you should be flossing once a day. These small steps you take regularly add up to a stronger, healthier smile in the long run.

Digital X-Rays

Most comprehensive X-rays are taken every few years, but we may recommend additional X-rays if you have a dental emergency or may have an underlying issue. We use digital X-rays, which expose you to less radiation than traditional X-rays, yet provide fast, accurate, and comfortable high-resolution images for use in diagnosis.

Fluoride Treatments

After your teeth have been cleaned, we apply fluoride-rich paste or gel to your teeth. The fluoride is left on your teeth for several minutes, allowing minerals (such as calcium) and phosphates to bond to your teeth, and is then rinsed off. This treatment helps to prevent cavities from forming on your teeth by strengthening and “remineralizing” them.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants aren’t just for kids – they can give great cavity-fighting benefits to patients of all ages. Because of the deeper crevices your back teeth are more prone to getting cavities, that’s where the sealant (a layer of liquid dental resin) is applied.

Using a UV light, this resin is then hardened to create a strong, transparent barrier that protects your enamel from food debris, acid, and bacteria. Dental sealants can protect your teeth for up to 10 years after application, keeping the formation of cavities at bay.

Periodontal CarE

Periodontal (gum) care is an important part of preventive dentistry, especially for patients struggling with gum disease. Regular gum checkups are crucial because, with specialized deep cleanings and proper oral hygiene at home, it’s possible to reverse the first stage of gum disease (called gingivitis).

More frequent deep cleanings (scheduled every 3months) are recommended for patients with more advanced cases of gum disease, as this helps maintain gum health by stopping the disease’s progression

Oral Cancer Screenings

Catching oral cancer in its early stages - before it spreads and becomes more serious - can save your life. This makes regular oral cancer screenings (performed every 6 months at your dental cleaning) a very important part of your preventive care. Through a consistent cleaning and exam schedule we become familiar with your oral health, and therefore can more easily determine when the condition of your mouth has changed or if there’s a new problem.

During your oral exam we look for discolored patches, growths, lumps and similar abnormalities in your mouth, gums, and oral tissues. If a potential issue is found, we can take a biopsy for further analysis, or directly refer you to a specialist.

Did you know…

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Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body.

Interested in preventive services?

Call (619) 449-8622

Have questions about preventive dentistry? Find answers here.

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How Do I Brush My Teeth Properly?

For the healthiest smile, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes at a time. To begin, hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums, and clean the front, back, and chewing surfaces of each tooth using small, circular strokes. You only need to use 30 seconds or so of this brushing technique on each quadrant of your mouth. Tips: use an ADA-approved toothpaste that includes fluoride and replace your toothbrush (or electric toothbrush head) every 3-4 months.

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How do you floss correctly?

Start by pulling out 18-24 inches of floss. Wrap most of this floss around one of your index or middle fingers, and wind the last few inches around the index or middle finger on your opposite hand.

Pinch a section of this floss between your fingers – about one inch of floss – and gently slide this section of floss between two of your teeth using a light rocking motion. Gently slide your floss all the way down your gums, hugging the floss against one of your teeth to create a “c” shape. Then simply take your floss and move it up and down between your teeth to dislodge any bacteria, plaque or food particles that may be present. Make sure to clean both sides of the gum by sliding the floss against the inside of both tooth surfaces.

When you’ve done that, gently pull the floss from between your teeth. Take a new 1-inch section of floss, wind it between your fingers as before, then move to the next two teeth and repeat the motions.

What's the difference between prophylactic cleanings and periodontal cleanings?

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Prophylactic cleanings are the general 6-month cleanings that you receive at your regular dental appointments. During these cleanings were remove tartar, plaque and bacteria from your teeth, perform a buff and polish on them, and finally floss them to clear out any residual debris.

Periodontal cleanings (which are also known as “deep cleanings”) are specifically only for patients who have periodontal (gum)disease, and this kind of cleaning requires two appointments. We clean half of your mouth at each periodontal cleaning appointment, scraping away tartar and plaque from between your teeth and gums, as well as smoothing the roots of your teeth to eliminate pockets that tend to trap bacteria.

Is preventive care covered by dental insurance?

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Dental insurance policies typically cover 100% of basic preventive care, and many policies not covering the full amount will at least cover a certain portion of the cost. Covered preventive care treatments include prophylactic teeth cleanings every 6 months, necessary x-rays (usually performed once a year), and a dental exam performed once or twice a year. The cost of optional preventive treatments (for example, dental sealants and fluoride treatments for children) may also be covered by dental insurance policies.

Some dental insurance policies may be different from others, so you need to understand what your coverage includes. It’s a good idea to consult with your provider when planning your dental care so that you know exactly what your insurance covers, and what may require out-of-pocket payment.

Did you know…

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A person smiles an average of  40 times a day. 

Interested in a preventive service?

Call (619) 449-8622