Cleanings & Prevention

Brush, floss, and rinse – It’s no secret that these daily oral hygiene practices are some of the key components for contributing to strong teeth, healthy gums, and good overall well-being. After all, dentists have been preaching the benefits of good oral hygiene for generations.

What many individuals still don’t realize is that these practices alone, are simply not enough to protect and maintain a healthy smile. This is where prevention through professional dental cleanings, oral health examinations, and regular visits to your dentist come in.

At both our Santa Rosa and Petaluma locations, Dr. Jorge Vasquez-Garcia, Dr. Odette Quintilla, and the Santa Fe Dental Group team help everyone who walks through our doors achieve a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles through skilled dental prevention. Call us today to schedule your comprehensive exam and cleaning!


How Do You Provide Preventive Dentistry?

The fundamentals of dental prevention are focused on ongoing, daily oral hygiene to prevent issues such as tooth decay, dental diseases, oral cancers, and other concerns that can impact your oral health.

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We do this by combining professional preventive service along with insights and tips for oral hygiene and healthy lifestyle habits.

Preventive services provided at our offices include:

Who Can Benefit from Preventive Dentistry?

Everyone! Just as dental complications don’t discriminate against age, neither does preventive care! From newborns to aging seniors, everyone can benefit from healthy gums. Proactive care with regularly-scheduled dental visits, and professional cleanings, exams, and at-home, diligent oral hygiene can help you get there!

How Early Should You Practice Prevention?

It’s never too late or too early to exercise dental prevention. However, proactive prevention should begin in childhood, as early as birth! Continue reading to discover more.

Newborns & Infants

close up of smiling baby with blue eyes

Just because your baby does not yet have teeth doesn’t mean caring for their smile should be overlooked. Gums are one of the most important foundations for any smile and your baby’s soft tissues are no different.

Begin gently cleaning your infant’s mouth with a clean, damp cloth, cleansing the gums every day and night until their first tooth erupts. As baby teeth emerge, be sure to schedule their first dental visit, no later than their first birthday.

Children & Teens

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Though your child’s teeth aren’t permanent, their proper health and function help pave the way for their future adult smile. As a parent or guardian, it’s essential you instill proper oral hygiene in-between visits to protect their teeth from decay. Our team also provides sealants for cavity protection and body-safe fillings for repairing areas of decay.

Pre-teens and adolescents often face their own set of oral health issues. These can include crooked teeth, bad breath, and dental plaque buildup.

During this stage of life, it’s essential to schedule your teen for their professional cleanings and examinations every six months. By doing so, our team can help counsel you and them on healthier lifestyle and eating habits.

Adults & Seniors

Happy senior mother embracing adult daughter laughing together

Although adult teeth are strong, they’re still vulnerable to decay, wear, and loss. Gums are also susceptible to infection and periodontal (gum) disease is still a common problem. As an adult, it is essential you practice diligent oral hygiene and schedule dental visits every six months.

For young adults, to individuals well into their golden years, we provide a wide variety of preventive treatments to repair damage, remove infection, and restore missing teeth.

Why is Prevention So Important?

Even with oral health awareness are on the rise, many still don’t know how closely oral and overall health are connected. Not only does a gorgeous, healthy smile help you look and feel great; it’s also crucial for your general well-being.

Cavities and gum disease are reduced significantly by establishing a strong foundation for oral health. This, in turn, can lower your risk of secondary health issues that may result from infection and oral bacteria.

Seven common concerns that have been linked to poor oral health include:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Complications with Diabetes
  3. Respiratory Disease
  4. Alzheimer’s
  5. Osteoporosis
  6. Alzheimer’s
  7. Oral and other Cancers

Because of toxins contained in bacterial plaque entering the placenta through the bloodstream, low birth weight in babies and premature birth may also be associated with bad oral health. Hormonal changes can have a significant effect on your oral health, so it's essential to stay proactive with your oral hygiene when you are pregnant.

While general prevention may not eliminate your need for fillings or a root canal completely, it’s possible to reduce the need for more extensive treatments in the future.

How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?

Dentist doing regular dental check-up to little boy.

Our team recommends you schedule your dental visits every six months so our team can successfully monitor your oral health. Bi-annual appointments allow for early diagnosis and intervention so you can avoid more complex treatments.

What Can I Expect with Regular Dental Check-Ups?

Our gentle and experienced team will examine your teeth, gums, jaw, neck, and tongue thoroughly. We’ll also take digital x-rays of your mouth, face, and neck, to look for hidden concerns and create a record for future comparison.

Detailed conversations are also included in every appointment. Our team likes to get to know you as a person, so we can fully understand your specific needs, goals, history, and lifestyle habits

Typically, we’ll conclude your appointment with a gentle dental cleaning, making sure your smile is properly cleaned, polished and feeling great when you leave our office.

What Will My Dental Exam Include?

A dental exam covers many different aspects of your oral health. Each check-up gives our dentists a different picture of your status and helps us make the best recommendations for your smile.

During your routine examination:

  • We look for signs of dental chips, cracks, decay, and wear
  • We check the positioning of your teeth
  • We look for symptoms of soft tissue inflammation and gum disease
  • We look out for damaged crowns, bridges, fillings or other restorations
  • We examine the health, and structure of your jawbone
  • We check your inner cheeks, tongue, and lips for signs of oral cancer

If problems are detected, we’ll work with you to create an effective treatment plan to correct issues before they become serious causes for concern.

Utilizing Modern Technology for Precise Dental Exams

We can better provide you with the highest quality of care possible by equipping our office with advanced dental technology to ensure that your smile stays healthy throughout your life.

Intraoral cameras look like a small pen and give us an in-depth look into the areas of your mouth that would otherwise be hard to see. These cameras help us to identify any developing issues and deliver the treatments you need.

We display these high-quality images on-screen during routine exams so you can see exactly what we see and understand your treatment plan.

Digital & panoramic x-rays allow us to look for issues not visible to the naked eye, such as deep cavities, damage to the jawbone, abscesses, cysts or tumors.

Panoramic x-rays are extraoral, meaning that inside the mouth no plate or film is required. They show the passages of the nasal and sinus that traditional X-rays miss. The benefit of both is lower radiation exposure.

I-CAT® 3D Imaging allows us an intricate look into your entire jawbone, and face. An important benefit of 3D imagery over traditional tools is that we can clearly see your bone structure, bone volume, tissues, and nerves.

Why Do I Need Professional Dental Cleanings?

woman having her teeth inspected at dental office

Our mouths have bacteria that are both essential and harmful. Dental cleanings are essential to remove the harmful bacteria buildup, while also checking for signs of tooth decay.

Without these regularly scheduled cleanings, your mouth's bacterial plaque can accumulate to a degree that inflames and irritates your gums as it burrows under the gum line. This inflammation is also the earliest stage of gum disease, also known as gingivitis.

When caught in its early phases, gingivitis is easily reversible. If left untreated it can develop into periodontitis, the most aggressive and harmful phase of gum disease. To treat periodontitis, you’ll need more detailed and extensive cleanings and possibly surgery.

Can Professional Cleanings Cure Gum Disease?

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One cleaning alone is not enough to cure early gum disease. However, the buildup of plaque and tartar that causes gum inflammation is removed by dental cleaning.

If you have gingivitis, more frequent cleanings combined with proper oral hygiene and a healthy diet can help make healing possible. If your gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, antibiotics, deep cleanings such as dental scaling and root planing, or surgery may be required.

We’ll help you understand the current condition of your gums and what treatments will help restore a healthy smile.

What Can I Do to Better Protect My Smile Between Visits?

A healthy smile is not achieved overnight but here are seven essential ways you can do your part in helping improve your overall oral health:

  1. Brush daily
  2. Floss at least once a day or after every meal
  3. Invest in a high-quality or electric toothbrush
  4. Drink plenty of water
  5. Limit or avoid alcohol and quit smoking
  6. Choose a vitamin, mineral-rich diet and chew sugar-free gum
  7. Visit your dentist every six months

Dental Prevention Can Help You Save You Time and Money!

At Santa Fe Dental, Drs. Jorge Vasquez-Garcia and Odette Quintilla want to help you preserve and maintain ideal oral health. Each preventive service we provide includes innovative diagnostic technologies and personalized treatments combined with respectful communication. Contact us at our Santa Rosa or Petaluma locations to schedule your appointment!


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