The foundation for a beautiful and happy smile is preventive care from your dentist! Along with diligent at-home brushing and flossing, routine professional cleanings and checkups can help you avoid costly procedures. With regular checkups at Mary Qian Dental Group in Palo Alto, we’ll be able to track your oral health and help you keep your smile healthy.
If you don’t floss, you’re leaving plaque on 40% of your tooth surfaces!
Your dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth, removing any plaque and tartar that may have accumulated. This includes flossing and scraping off plaque that has built up under the gum line with either water or an ultrasonic cleaner. Your teeth will be left feeling polished and refreshed.
Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve had your last set of dental x-rays taken, your dentist may recommend we gather these images. Dental x-rays are a useful tool to help us detect problems that may not be visible to the naked eye. Dr. Qian will be able to see any problem areas such as cavities or infections, cracks in the tooth enamel, and make a recommendation from there.
After Dr. Qian reviews your x-rays, she will take a close look at your gums and teeth. If she notices any potential issues, she will help you understand exactly what is going on, and how best to address it. It is our goal for you to stay informed so you can feel confident about making the right decision for your oral health.
Depending on what is uncovered in your comprehensive exam and dental x-rays, you and Dr. Qian will work together on creating a custom treatment plan that accommodates your individual needs, budget, and lifestyle. If no issues are present, we will simply determine how often you should come in for cleanings to keep your smile in tip-top shape.
Whether it’s scheduling a follow-up visit for a filling, cosmetic treatments, or a routine cleaning, our team is here for you. At this time we will also be able to answer any questions you may have about your insurance and payment options. We strive to ensure every visit is seamless and stress-free!
Tooth enamel is the hardest part of your entire body.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time for a healthy smile. Start by holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums. Using small, circular strokes, clean the front, back, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Each quadrant of your mouth only needs about 30 seconds of proper brushing. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3-4 months, and to use an ADA-approved toothpaste with fluoride.
It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each session. Angle the bristles of the brush 45 degrees towards your gums. Brush in gentle, circular strokes, clean all surfaces of each tooth. Focus on cleaning each quadrant of your mouth for about 30 seconds to ensure you aren’t rushing. Be sure to brush with a toothpaste that contains fluoride to keep cavities at bay. You can also use an electric toothbrush if it helps make brushing easier!
Start by rolling out about 24 inches of dental floss. Wind most of it around your index or middle finger and wind the last few inches around the index finger of your other hand. Hold a 1-inch section firmly between fingers and thumbs and gently glide this floss between your teeth, using a rocking up and down motion. When the floss is between your teeth, take it up into the gum line following the c-shape curve to dislodge plaque and bacteria. Repeat this for both sides of each tooth and be sure to wind a new 1-inch section each time you move to a new tooth to prevent spreading bacteria.
Prophylactic cleanings are the regular dental appointments you need every 6 months to prevent cavities and bad breath. Your dentist or dental hygienist will remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your teeth and give them a thorough flossing to ensure your smile is clean and free of debris.
Periodontal cleanings are also known as “deep cleanings” and are only necessary for patients who have periodontal disease. During these cleanings, your dentist will take extra care to scrape away plaque and tartar between your teeth and gums, and smooth the roots of your teeth to eliminate pockets that trap bacteria. Deep cleanings are a part of a periodontal maintenance routine and will help patients with gum disease preserve their oral health.
Most dental insurance policies fully cover preventive care such as cleanings, exams, and x-rays. If your preventive care is not 100% covered, it will usually at least be partially covered by your policy. Some plans may also cover optional treatments like dental sealants and fluoride for children, too. To learn more about your coverage, consult with your provider and give our office a call to see how we can help you maximize your dental insurance benefits.
You should attend regular preventive dental appointments every 6 months to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Regular oral exams and dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar from the gum line, reduce surface stains, freshen the breath, and promote early detection of serious oral health problems.
Through early detection and prevention, we have the best chance of preserving your oral health and catching problems like oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay early enough to reverse them. Fluoride treatments every 6 months provide your teeth with additional protection against cavities and strengthen your enamel until your next appointment.
This ultimately depends on your age, your oral health history, any pre-existing conditions you have, and how many restorations you have. Children are more prone to tooth decay because of their thinner enamel and tendency to eat higher sugar diets.
They are also very active and at risk of dental trauma when they play sports. For this reason, routine x-rays need to be taken every 1 to 2 years and may need to be taken even more frequently if the child has a disproportionately elevated risk for oral health problems.
Teenagers can start to space their routine x-rays out a little further, with the ADA recommending routine x-rays every 18 to 36 months unless they have a high risk of decay. Finally, adults only need routine x-rays every 2 to 3 years unless they have replaced all of their teeth with dentures in which case x-rays are only needed to check for specific problems.
In addition to routine x-rays, an x-ray may need to be taken if you come to the dentist with symptoms of an oral health problem or you have suffered from dental trauma. This allows us to see what’s happening within the teeth and beneath the gums which can’t be seen with the naked eye. People with conditions like diabetes or dry mouth have an increased risk for tooth decay and may require more frequent x-rays.
Preventive dentistry not only keeps your oral health intact but also saves you a lot of time and money. By preventing the need for invasive and costly dental treatments in the first place, you won’t need to worry about shelling out thousands of dollars or spending months of your time to replace missing teeth, restore damage, and treat infections.
Preventive dentistry also keeps your teeth looking aesthetic and your breath smelling nice. Dental cleanings remove plaque buildup, food particles, and tooth stains to reveal whiter and brighter teeth that can sometimes replace the need for a whitening treatment.
Plaque buildup and food particles stuck between the teeth can also contribute to a foul odor in the mouth that only a dental cleaning will banish, especially if you’re in the beginning stages of gingivitis.
Preventive dentistry reduces your risk of serious conditions like oral cancer or enables you to catch them early enough to do something about them. This can end up saving your life. Preventive dentistry also prevents tooth and bone loss that occur from poor oral hygiene.
Most people smile about 40 times a day!