Preventive Dental Care in Palo Alto

Why is preventive dental care important?

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.

preventive dentist in Palo Alto

Did you know…

If you don’t floss, you’re leaving plaque on 40% of your tooth surfaces!

Ready to schedule your appointment?

Call (650) 327-3172 today!

What to expect at your preventive dental care appointment in Palo Alto

Thorough Cleaning

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.

Necessary X-Rays

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.

Comprehensive Exam

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.

Tailored Treatment Plan

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.

Schedule Follow Up Appointment

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!

Preventive Treatment Options

View our services

Cleaning & Hygiene

Coming in for regular teeth cleanings will ensure that you have a healthy and strong smile. It is recommended to schedule an appointment every six months so your dental hygienist can address any minor stains, plaque, or bacteria that may have built up since your last visit.

A diligent at-home oral care routine is just as important as coming in for your cleanings. Be sure to brush at least twice a day for two minutes using fluoride-based toothpaste. In addition, floss at least once per day to remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria that can’t be removed with brushing alone.

Digital X-Rays

Your comfort is our priority. Digital x-rays are fast, comfortable, and high-resolution images that allow us to make accurate diagnoses while exposing you to less radiation than with traditional film x-rays. In most cases, a full set of x-rays will be taken once or twice per year, but Dr. Qian may also recommend one if they suspect you may have developed a dental issue or if you're experiencing a dental emergency.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride treatments can easily be added to any routine preventive visit to help keep decay at bay. Once your teeth have been cleaned, Dr. Qian will simply apply a fluoride-rich varnish or gel and leave it in place before rinsing it away. Fluoride works by attracting healthy minerals like calcium and phosphates which will bond to your teeth and help re-strengthen them.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are common for pediatric patients who may be at a high risk of developing cavities, but they are also great for patients of all ages who wish to protect their teeth from dental decay. During this treatment, dental resin will be applied to the rear teeth which have more grooves and crevices where plaque and bacteria can hide. The resin will be hardened with a UV light, creating a strong barrier that blocks food debris, acid, and bacteria from coming into contact with your enamel. When properly applied dental sealant can last for years to come!

Periodontal Care

Patients who struggle with gum disease are at risk of experiencing tooth loss and other problems. Gingivitis is the first stage, which can be reversed with deep cleanings and diligent at-home care. Visiting the dentist for regular checkups will ensure that patients with gum disease can get control over their oral health before it becomes too late!

We recommend that patients with more advanced cases of gum disease schedule deep cleanings in frequent intervals of about every three months, which can halt the progression of periodontitis and preserve their oral health.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer screenings are a crucial part of preventive oral health care routines. By catching oral cancer early before it spreads, can save a patient’s life. That’s why we always check for any potential signs of oral cancer at every bi-annual checkup.

Dr. Qian will examine your mouth, gums, and other oral tissues, keeping an eye out for lesions, lumps, discolored patches, and other abnormalities. If anything looks unusual, a biopsy can be taken and sent to a specialist for further analysis. Oral cancer is rare, but it’s important to be proactive and stay consistent with your oral healthcare routine, so your dentist can easily identify when something is wrong.

Night Guards

Grinding and clenching while sleeping is quite common. Night guards can be a great solution for this subconscious clenching. Night guards form a  soft barrier to protect your teeth from the wear and tear that is caused by clenching and grinding. Dr. Qian will take an impression or scan your teeth to create your custom night guard. The impression or scan will be sent to a dental lab where your night guard will be made. The night guard eases the tension between your jaw muscles and alleviates the painful side effects of clenching and grinding, so you can enjoy restful sleep.

Sport Guards

Similar to night guards, sports mouth guards are worn over the teeth. However sports guards protect your teeth from dental trauma that can occur when playing high-intensity impact sports. Professionally fitted sports guards can protect athletes from oral injury due to impact to the mouth, face, and head. If you play football, basketball, baseball, soccer, rugby, hockey, gymnastics, mountain biking, or other activities that may involve falls, body contact, or flying objects, ask your dentist about developing your custom sports guard today! They are comfortable, durable, and won’t restrict you from doing what you love.

Did you know…

Tooth enamel is the hardest part of your entire body.

Interested in preventive services?

Schedule a visit Today!

Have questions about preventive dentistry? Find answers here.

How should I properly brush my teeth?

arrow icon

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!

How do you floss correctly?

arrow icon

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.

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

arrow icon

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.

Is preventive care covered by dental insurance?

arrow icon

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.

How Often Should I Visit the Dentist for Preventive Care?

arrow icon

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.

How Often Should I Get Dental X-Rays?

arrow icon

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.

What Are the Benefits of Preventive Dentistry?

arrow icon

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.

Did you know…

Most people smile about 40 times a day!

Ready for your next dental appointment?

Call (650) 327-3172 today!