Although we care for our teeth through brushing, getting a regular assessment, and cleaning, decay can still develop. That is why we recommend other preventive measures, such as fluoride treatments.
This post answers some of the common questions about Fluoride treatments.
How Does Fluoride Influence Dental Health?
Fluoride is our natural cavity fighter found in food, toothpaste, water, and mouth rinses. We need to use fluoride often to keep our teeth free of decay. Here is why:
The enamel, the outer layer, protects the inner layers of the teeth from damage and bruising. It consists of vital minerals, calcium, and phosphate, which strengthens it and makes it easy to fight decay.
However, because of our diet and brushing techniques, we strip off these minerals from the teeth in a process called demineralization. Eating foods high in sugar creates an acid environment that affects the enamel. The bacteria in the oral cavity break down these foods producing acid. The more you eat these sugary foods, the higher the levels of an acidic solution in the mouth.
Fortunately, the enamel can reverse the effects of demineralization if provided with essential minerals—fluoride. Brushing with fluoride helps the enamel to reabsorb these lost minerals. Furthermore, fluoride can help to reverse mild dental cavities.
When Does the Dentist Recommend Fluoride Treatment?
If you have healthy teeth free of decay, you can use fluoride toothpaste to keep things healthy. However, if you are at risk of dental cavities, the dentist may recommend fluoride treatment often to strengthen the enamel. Several conditions can increase your risk like:
- Dry mouth. Saliva helps to keep the food particles from the mouth and reduces the acid attack on the enamel. However, when saliva production is low because of diseases or certain medications, you are at increased risk of dental cavities. This is because the food particles will stick to the teeth.
- Periodontal disease. Gum disease causes the gums to recede, which exposes the root. The more exposed the root is, the higher your chances of getting cavities.
- History of dental cavities
- Dental crowns and bridges. At times when you have dental restorations, you may be at risk of developing cavities. This is because the crowns and bridges can trap food at the point where they meet with the teeth.
How Is Fluoride Treatment Done?
Fluoride treatment is done in stages, but in one dental sitting.
- Choosing the type of treatment
- Dental cleaning
- Follow up
We have two types of fluoride that can be used—systemic and topical. Topical fluoride treatments are applied to the enamel. The products include varnish, mouth rinses, toothpaste, and gels. On the other hand, systemic treatments are ingested and include things like supplements, water, and food products.
For effective results, our dentist in Mesa may use both systemic and topical, depending on your needs.
Our hygienist will first clean the teeth off any plaque buildup. Next, the topical fluoride is applied using a tray, swab, or brush. The varnish or foam is left to sit for a couple of minutes for the enamel to absorb it. You are to stay for 30 minutes after the application before eating or drinking.
The dentist may schedule a follow-up treatment every 3, 6, or 12 months based on your risk factor.
Does Insurance cover fluoride Treatment?
Most dental insurance plans cover pediatric fluoride treatment. As an adult, you’ll have to part with $10 to $30 per tooth.
What Are the Risks of Fluoride Treatment?
Fluoride is safe and does not cause any side effects. However, when overdosed, it could cause fluorosis.
Fluoride overdose is prevalent in children and seniors. Fluorosis can cause the formation of white specs or teeth discoloration. In severe levels, the child may experience bone homeostasis or have dense but brittle bones.
An overdose can also cause acute toxicity that triggers nausea, sweating, diarrhea, and tiredness.
It is vital to avoid taking fluoride supplements unless advised by the dentist. Also, monitor your children when brushing to keep them from swallowing the toothpaste or mouth rinses.
Schedule an Appointment
Visit Family Care Dental for more information on fluoride treatments, how its done, and its benefits.