Fluoride treatments can be beneficial for people of any age, and depending on your tooth’s enamel strength and your oral health overall, your dentist may recommend that you use topical fluoride treatments to help you strengthen your enamel and lower your risk of tooth decay.
Monarch Dental offers fluoride treatment as part of our comprehensive approach to oral care. From fluoride to fillings, crowns to root canals, you’ll find everything you and your family need to meet your restorative, preventative, and cosmetic dental care needs, all at any one of our convenient locations.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that, when applied to the teeth, can help strengthen them and protect them from developing cavities.
Fluoride is found in both food and water and has properties to help remineralize the enamel coating of your teeth. This is important because tooth enamel is constantly exposed to acids that wear away at it and weaken the teeth. From the foods you eat to the acid produced from plaque, there are all kinds of ways your teeth face demineralization.
Tooth decay forms as the bacteria on your teeth consume sugars from what you eat and drink, producing acid as a byproduct. This acid will start to wear away at your tooth’s enamel over time, causing small holes to form. These small holes are called cavities and will need to be repaired with a filling by your dentist.
Fluoride makes your enamel more resistant to acid and the subsequent cavities, and can even reverse early signs of decay. This is why dentists often recommend fluoride treatments for children under six years old. During this time, children are still learning proper oral hygiene, may be lacking a strict regimen to keep their teeth clean, and tend to consume a lot of sugary foods and beverages. Fluoride treatment acts as an extra form of protection from cavities.
Topical fluoride treatments are applied directly to the surface of your teeth. These are typically in the form of toothpastes, mouth rinses, or gels applied at home or by a dentist. There are also over-the-counter mouthwashes with fluoride you can use, which a dentist may recommend if you are at particular risk for developing cavities.
For more effective measures, your dentist will offer a stronger, professional fluoride treatment in-office during an appointment. Your dentist will apply the fluoride treatment either in a foam or gel that’s put inside a disposable tray. In some cases, they’ll apply a varnish directly to the tooth rather than a gel or foam. The formulas used at your dentist’s office are much stronger than those in the products you’d find at your pharmacy for an at-home treatment, and you’ll need to be prescribed them. Talk to your dentist to see if you’d be a good candidate for fluoride treatment during your next appointment.
Instead of a fluoride treatment applied directly to your teeth, patients can opt for a systemic fluoride treatment, which allows the fluoride to strengthen your tooth’s enamel from within the body via ingestion. This is especially helpful for children, since it can help strengthen teeth as they’re developing. Fluoride is generally ingested in several ways, including fluoridated water and drinks, prescription fluoride supplements, and a small amount of fluoride in food. Fluoride is often added to public drinking water as a way to help children strengthen the enamel on their teeth.
Fluoride treatment is available as a stand-alone appointment or in conjunction with your next cleaning or other dental treatment. It’s relatively fast and easy and can be applied right in the dentist’s office.
First, your teeth will be dried to prevent any dilution of the fluoride solution.
Then, if the fluoride is in the form of a gel or foam, your dentist will typically use a mouth tray to allow your teeth to sit in the formula. If the fluoride is in the form of varnish, the solution will be painted onto the tooth enamel with a brush or cotton swab. Your dentist will ask that you do not swallow the treatment while it sits on your teeth. This can take anywhere from one to four minutes.
After the treatment, your dentist will ask that you refrain from consuming anything, including water, for at least 30 minutes. This gives your teeth time to properly absorb the fluoride, remineralizing as much of the tooth enamel as possible.
It is important to incorporate good oral hygiene habits as your child develops permanent teeth, including regular fluoride treatments. Systemic and topical fluoride treatments can help ensure those developing teeth have strong enamel, but if you decide to use fluoride supplements, be sure they are consumed in small amounts. You’ll want to discuss proper dosage with your dentist to avoid fluoride over-consumption, or fluorosis.
It’s important to monitor both your and your child’s exposure to fluoride. Not enough and your teeth are more susceptible to the effects of tooth decay, but too much and you run the risk of toxicity.
However, fluoride over-use would require much more than the average amounts and from a variety of sources, something most people do not have to worry about. If you are concerned about how much fluoride you or your child is using, be sure to speak with your dentist.
Fluoride is highly effective for strengthening the enamel on your teeth, but you should always be sure to use it as directed. Depending on your weight and age, high doses of fluoride can be toxic.
This is especially important in children, who are at risk for developing fluorosis, a potential side effect of using too much fluoride. Fluorosis is usually characterized by faint white spots or streaks on the enamel of teeth that can be difficult to see and typically develops as a result of inadvertent fluoride consumption from multiple sources, such as well water, grape products, dried fruit, dried beans, cocoa powder, and walnuts. Tea plants also absorb fluoride from the soil, so tea leaves–particularly older tea leaves–can contain high levels of fluoride.
Find out if fluoride treatment is right for you by scheduling an appointment at your nearest Monarch Dental office. Whether as a separate treatment or one you add on after your teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment is one of the best ways to strengthen your teeth and your smile, and with flexible scheduling, a long list of accepted insurances, and multiple locations, Monarch Dental makes it even easier to get the care you need at a price you can afford. Call us today at 1-844-800-7645.