Preventive Dentistry in Albuquerque

Why is preventive dental care important?

Preventive dentistry is your foundation for a healthy smile. With a regular dental cleaning and exams, small dental issues can be caught before they turn into a large and costly dental problem. Preventive dental care along with a diligent at-home brushing and flossing routine can help prevent dental issues all together. It's these small investments in your oral hygiene that lead to a beautiful, healthy smile from your family dentist. Call today to schedule an appointment at Coronado Family Dental. Don't hesitate to stop by our office located at 11130 Lomas Blvd NE Suite F2, Albuquerque, NM 87112.

Preventive dental care in Albuquerque

Did you know…

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Dental plaque is made up of more than 300 different types of bacteria that causes tooth decay.

Ready to schedule your appointment?

call (505) 369-6451 today!

What to expect at your preventive dental care appointment

Albuquerque Preventive Dentistry

Thorough Cleaning

Every dental appointment begins with a thorough cleaning from your dentist or dental hygienist. They will clean away plaque, tartar and bacteria, buff and polish your teeth, and floss your teeth to ensure that your smile looks bright and beautiful.

Preventive dentist in Albuquerque

Necessary X-Rays

If you haven’t had x-rays recently, or if your Albuquerque dentist suspects that there may be hidden issues with your teeth, they may recommend that x-rays be taken. These images help our team see potential issues hiding below the gumline and within teeth.

Albuquerque preventive dentist

Comprehensive Exam

After your teeth are cleaned and x-rays have been taken, your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth for any signs of oral health issues, like cavities, gum disease, and abnormalities of the tissues. X-rays will also be examined to ensure that every potential issue has been detected.

Preventive dentist in Albuquerque, NM

Treatment Plan

During your exam, your preventive dentist in Albuquerque will discuss with you the state of your oral health and any potential problems that they see. At this time, a treatment plan is developed. Your doctor will provide you with recommendations to resolve the issues and discuss the best treatment options for your lifestyle and budget.

Albuquerque NM Preventive dentist

Schedule Follow Up Appointment

If you need a follow-up appointment for a simple filling, more complex restorative dentistry, or a cosmetic dentistry, we can schedule your next appointment before you leave our office. We also recommend that you schedule your next cleaning in 6 months to ensure your smile stays bright and beautiful.

Preventive Treatment Options

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Cleaning & Hygiene

Teeth cleanings are essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. Seeing an oral hygienist and a dentist in Albuquerque, NM every six months ensures that minor stains, plaque, and bacteria can be removed from your teeth, and that your smile remains healthy and strong.  

Good at-home oral hygiene is also important. Make sure you brush at least twice a day for two minutes using fluoride-based toothpaste, and floss once per day to get rid of food particles, plaque, and bacteria that can't be removed with brushing alone.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride treatments can be applied to the teeth after any teeth cleaning. Your dentist will apply a layer of fluoride-rich gel or paste directly to your teeth, and leave it in place for several minutes. Then, it will be rinsed away.  

After treatment, the fluoride will attract minerals like calcium and phosphates to your teeth, strengthening and "remineralizing" them. This, in turn, helps prevent the formation of cavities.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are a great way to fight back against cavities, and can be used on patients of all ages. Sealants are made up of a layer of liquid dental resin, which your dentist will apply directly to the rear teeth. Usually, sealants are only used on the rear teeth because their deep crevices are more prone to cavities.  

This resin is hardened using a UV light, creating a strong, transparent barrier. This blocks food debris, acid, and bacteria from contact with your enamel. A strong dental sealant can prevent the formation of cavities for up to 10 years.

Periodontal Care

Periodontal care is an essential part of preventative dentistry for patients who have gum disease. The first stage of gum disease is known as "gingivitis," and it can be reversed with specialized deep cleanings and proper at-home oral hygiene. It's important to see your general dentist for a regular dental checkup so they can monitor your oral health and ensure gingivitis is at bay.  

Patients with more advanced cases of gum disease can never fully eradicate the disease, although it can be maintained with more frequent, deep cleanings. Routine periodontal maintenance cleanings are typically scheduled every 3 months and can halt the progression of the disease, keeping their oral health under control.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer screenings are an essential part of preventive care. Oral cancer is often hard to detect until it spreads more widely and becomes more serious. However, your dentist can detect signs early simply by performing an oral exam at your biannual dental appointments.

Your preventive dentist will examine your mouth, gums, and oral tissues. They will look for discolored patches, lumps, growths, and other such abnormalities. In the rare case that an issue is found, a biopsy can be taken and sent to a specialist for further analysis, or your dentist will refer you to a specialist directly. Consistent dental visits allow your dentist to become familiar with your oral health, which in turn, allows them to more easily notice when there may be something wrong.

Did you know…

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Regular flossing allows you to clean an additional 40% of your tooth surface.

Interested in a preventive services?

call (505) 369-6451 today!

Have questions about preventive dentistry? Find answers here.

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What’s the proper brushing technique?

You need to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time. While brushing, hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums, and use small, circular strokes to clean the front, back, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. You should spend about 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth.  

In addition, remember to replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3-4 months, and to use an ADA-approved toothpaste with fluoride.

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How do you floss correctly?

First, unroll about 18-24 inches of floss. Wind most of the floss around the index or middle finger of one of your hands. Then, wind the last few inches around the index or middle finger of your opposite hand.

Use your thumbs to pinch a 1-inch section of floss between your fingers. Gently move this section of floss between your teeth with a rocking motion. When the floss reaches your gumline, hug the floss against one of your teeth to create a "c" shape and move it up and down to dislodge plaque and bacteria. Do the same motion against the adjacent tooth to clear below both sides of the gum.  

Next, gently remove the floss from between your teeth. Wind a new 1-inch section of floss between your fingers, move to the next tooth, and repeat.

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

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Prophylactic cleanings are required for all patients. They are the regular cleanings you get every 6 months at your dental appointments. During most cleanings, your dentist or dental hygienist will remove plaque, tartar and bacteria from your teeth, buff and polish them, and then floss your teeth to remove any residual debris.  

Periodontal cleanings are different. They're only needed if you have periodontal or gum disease. This process, also known as a "deep cleaning" is done in two appointments, usually with half of your mouth cleaned at each appointment. Your dentist in Albuquerque will scrape away plaque and tartar from between your teeth and gums, and smooth the roots of your teeth to eliminate pockets that trap bacteria. Unless you have gum disease, you won't need a periodontal cleaning.

Is preventive care covered by dental insurance?

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Most dental insurance policies will cover at least a portion of basic preventive care, and usually 100% is covered. Preventive care treatments include prophylactic teeth cleanings every 6 month, any necessary x-rays (usually once a year), and an annual or biannual dental exam performed by your dentist. For children, dental insurance policies may also cover the cost of optional preventive treatments, like dental sealants and fluoride treatments.

However, insurance policies do differ and it's up to the patient to understand their coverage. Make sure you consult with your provider so you know exactly what's covered and what will likely be out-of-pocket.

What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?

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When it comes to selecting a toothbrush, there are so many different factors to consider, such as the stiffness of your bristles, the size of the toothbrush head, whether you get manual or electric, and the material of your bristles. 

However, only a few of these considerations make a real difference. When it comes to oral hygiene, the most important thing is that you are regularly brushing every day using the proper technique and for the recommended duration (2-3 minutes).

The actual type of toothbrush you use is less important. You want to make sure, however, that you’re only using a soft bristle toothbrush. If the bristles are hard, they will cause enamel erosion which damages your teeth. 

When it comes to choosing between a manual or electric toothbrush, that depends on your personal needs. Patients who lack dexterity, hate brushing their teeth, or have a high prevalence of cavities may benefit from an electric toothbrush. 

Electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque, require less effort, and do much of the work for you. However, because they can be expensive, it’s difficult to find parts to replace, and your manual toothbrush can do just as good of a job if used right, there’s nothing wrong with a traditional toothbrush.

Do I Need to Get X-Rays?

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Dental x-rays are useful diagnostic tools that reveal oral health problems beneath the surfaces of your teeth and gums. X-rays are important because they show us what can’t be seen with our eyes alone. 

Not only do they reveal potential oral health problems, but they also help us detect how your teeth are sitting in the jaw which enables us to plan surgical, orthodontic, and restoration treatments with high accuracy and success.

The ADA recommends that patients in good oral health get routine x-rays taken every 2 to 3 years. However, patients with a high risk for oral health problems such as having a history of gum disease, diabetes, dry mouth, or a high prevalence of cavities may need x-rays more frequently.

How Often Should I See the Dentist?

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Most people need to go to the dentist every 6 months for a checkup and dental cleaning. This is the minimum amount you should be visiting the dentist to maintain good oral health and to promote early detection of problems with your teeth and gums.

However, some patients are at high risk for tooth decay and gum disease or are missing all of their teeth and need to wear dentures which results in tooth loss and changes to their facial structure.

These patients may need to go to the dentist every 3 months for more frequent cleanings. Dr. Chiem will let you know if she recommends you come more frequently or if the standard bi-annual checkups are sufficient. 

Other than these routine preventative appointments, you may also run into problems such as a sudden toothache, an unexpected dental emergency, or impacted wisdom teeth which require treatment. Contact us at Coronado Family Dental to schedule your routine cleaning with Dr. Becky Chiem.

Did you know…

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Over 90% of American adults have had a cavity at some point in their lives.

Interested in a preventive services?

call (505) 369-6451 today!