Preventive dental care lays the groundwork for a healthy, beautiful smile. In combination with proper at-home hygiene practices, like twice-daily brushing and flossing at least once a day, having regular cleanings and oral exams can help keep your teeth and gums healthy and free from decay and other dental health issues. The best thing you can do for your oral health is keep your professional dental team involved. At your preventative appointment every six months, Dr. Hlavaty will examine your mouth for signs of cavities and gum disease. Your dental hygienists will use special instruments to remove the plaque and calculus from your teeth. Routine checkups at Hlavaty Dental Arts also allow us to track your oral health and address any minor problems with your oral health before they become major ones. Early treatment will reduce your potential for serious health problems down the road. The most powerful way to protect your oral health is regular preventative dentistry. We provide preventative dentistry to patients in Santa Barbara, Montecito, and the surrounding areas. Safeguard your smile by giving us a call today at Hlavaty Dental Arts
We will thoroughly clean your teeth and gums, gently removing plaque and tartar that may have built up. This includes flossing between your teeth and scraping off plaque that has accumulated beneath the gum line, using water or an ultrasonic cleaner. After your cleaning, your teeth will be polished and your smile will be left feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had dental x-rays taken, your dentist may recommend x-rays. Dental x-rays allow us to see beneath the surface, and find problems that may not be visible to the naked eye. With x-rays, we can make more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatment plans & we only use state-of-the-art,
low radiation digital x-rays.
Your dentist will review your x-rays before taking an in-depth look at your teeth and gums. If we notice any areas of concern, we’ll take the time to explain our findings, and help you decide how to best address it. Our goal is to keep you informed and educated, so you can make the right oral health decision with confidence.
Based on what we uncover during your exam, you’ll work together with your dentist to create a personalized treatment plan that is tailored to fit your unique needs, budget, and lifestyle. If we find your mouth to be healthy and in good shape, we’ll simply schedule your next regular checkup and cleaning!
No matter what kind of treatment you’re scheduling, our team is here for you. We can answer any insurance or financing questions you may have, and will do everything we can to ensure every visit is simple and stress-free.
Attending regular teeth cleanings will help to set your smile up for success. We’ll ensure that your grin is healthy and strong, and keep an eye on any potential issues. For most patients, it’s recommended to schedule regular appointments every six months so your dental hygienist can address any minor plaque, bacteria, or minor stains that may have built up since your last visit.
Keeping diligent with your at-home oral care routine is equally as important as getting professional cleanings, and is the best way to keep your smile healthy. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a time using fluoride-rich toothpaste. Also, make sure to floss at least once per day, ideally at the end of the day, to remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria that brushing alone can’t take care of.
Digital x-rays are fast, comfortable, and safe. High-resolution images help us make more accurate diagnoses while exposing you to a fraction of the radiation used by traditional film x-rays. Most patients will get a full set of x-rays to begin with, followed by yearly checkup x-rays. However, additional imaging may be recommended one if you have a potential issue or if you have experienced a dental emergency.
Fluoride treatments are easy to add to any routine preventive visit, and are great for helping keep dental decay at bay. After your cleaning, your dentist will apply a fluoride-rich varnish or gel to your teeth, and leave it in place for several minutes before rinsing it away. Fluoride helps to strengthen your enamel through a process called “remineralization,” which works by attracting minerals like calcium and phosphates to your teeth, helping to restore their hardness and increase their resistance to acids.
Dental sealants are most commonly recommended for children who may be high-risk for tooth decay, but they’re also a great option for patients of any age who wish to protect themselves from developing cavities. A relatively straight-forward procedure, dental sealants start with the application of dental resin, usually to the rear teeth, as they have more grooves and uneven surfaces where plaque and bacteria can easily hide. A UV light will be used to cure the resin, hardening it and creating a powerful barrier between your enamel and food debris, acid, or bacteria. When applied correctly, dental sealants can last for years!
Many patients struggle with gum disease, and if left untreated, can risk losing their teeth and other problems. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and is the only stage that can actually be reversed with deep cleanings and attentive at-home hygiene. If you have gum disease, keeping up with your regular cleanings and checkups will help you gain control over your oral health before it’s too late!
For patients with more advanced stages of periodontitis, we recommend scheduling deep cleanings at more frequent intervals, usually every three to four months. Although the effects of advanced gum disease can’t be reversed, deep cleanings, scaling, and root planing can halt the progression of periodontitis and help preserve your oral health.
Oral cancer screenings are an important part of every preventive care visit. Catching oral cancer in its early stages allows us to stop it before it spreads, and can save your life. That’s why we’ll always check for signs of oral cancer at every preventive visit.
Your dentist will examine your oral tissues, like your gums and tongue, keeping an eye out for abnormalities like lesions, lumps, discolorations. If we find anything unusual, we’ll take a biopsy and send it out to a specialist for a thorough analysis. Although oral cancer isn’t overly common, it’s important to remain proactive and consistent with your oral healthcare routine, so we can identify any issues before they become major problems.
Teeth grinding and clenching while sleeping is a common issue faced by many patients. Night guards are a great solution for this unconscious grinding, also known as bruxism. Night guards form a barrier that protects your teeth from damage caused by the pressure of clenching and grinding. Your dentist will take a 3D digital impression (scan) of your teeth and gums that will be sent to a dental lab, where your night guard will be custom-crafted. Night guards work by easing the tension in your jaw, alleviating the painful headaches and other side effects of clenching and grinding, so you can get the sleep you need and keep your teeth from wearing down.
Sports mouth guards are worn over the teeth, just like night guards. However sports guards are designed specifically to protect your smile from dental injuries that are so common when playing high-intensity impact sports. Custom-fitted sports guards can help protect athletes from oral trauma caused by collisions to the mouth, face, and head. If you play football, basketball, baseball, soccer, rugby, hockey, gymnastics, mountain biking, or other activities that put you at risk for injury due from falls, body contact, or flying objects, ask us about getting fitted for a custom sports guard today! Tailored to fit your unique smile, sports guards are comfortable, durable, and won’t stop you from playing the sports you love.
You should brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes at a time. Begin by holding your brush at a 45-degree angle relative to your teeth and gums. Clean the front, back, and chewing surfaces of each tooth using small, circular strokes, spending about 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth. Make sure your toothpaste has fluoride, and is ADA-approved, and remember to replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3-4 months.
Begin by gathering around 24 inches of dental floss. Wrap most of it around one index or middle finger, and wind the remaining few inches around the index finger of your other hand. Holding about a 1-inch section, keep it taught between your fingers and thumbs as you gently glide the floss between your teeth. Use a gentle rocking motion instead of trying to force the floss down, as it can slip and that force can damage your gums. When the floss is between your teeth, take it into the gum line following the c-shaped curve of the tooth to dislodge plaque and bacteria. Keep repeating this process for both sides of every tooth, keeping sure to wind a new 1-inch section each time to help prevent the spread of bacteria.
Prophylactic cleanings are also referred to as “regular cleanings.” These are the cleanings you receive during your regular dental appointments, and are important to get every 6 months to help prevent decay and keep bad breath at bay. We will remove any buildup of plaque, tartar, or bacteria from your teeth and floss between them to ensure your smile stays healthy and free of debris.
Periodontal cleanings, also known as “deep cleanings,” are only required for patients with periodontal, or gum, disease. As the name suggests, these sessions are more thorough than regular cleanings. During your visit, your hygienist will carefully scrape away plaque and tartar that has built up between your teeth and gums, as well as taking care to smooth out the roots of your teeth, to eliminate pockets that can trap bacteria and perpetuate gum disease. Deep cleanings are an important part of every periodontal maintenance routine, and are meant to help those suffering from gum disease preserve their oral health.
For some patients, dental insurance policies fully cover routine preventive care like cleanings, exams, and x-rays. Even if preventive care is not 100% covered by your insurance plan, it will likely be at least partially covered. Some plans may even cover treatments that are considered optional, such as dental sealants and fluoride treatments. For specific details about your insurance plan, get in touch with us today, and find out how we can help maximize your benefits.
If you don't have dental insurance, ask us about our in-office discount plan. It includes your yearly preventative care and actually costs less than most dental insurance plans.