Fluoride Treatments to Prevent Cavities and Reduce Sensitivity
Benefits of Fluoride
Our teeth are covered in a very hard outer shell of enamel. Unlike soft tissue, once enamel is damaged either from chipping or from a cavity, it can’t grow back. The only way to repair lost enamel is with a filling. If cared for properly, your enamel can last your entire life. Fluoride treatments at the dentist are one way to preserve and keep your enamel healthy.
Fluoride actually binds to your enamel, strengthening it against the weakening forces of acidic foods and bacteria. Studies have shown for years that adults who were exposed to fluoride as children have lower rates of dental decay than adults who did not receive fluoride either in their drinking water or from their dentist. It’s the main reason we recommend fluoride treatments for kids at their regular cleaning and check-up appointments.
Adults benefit from fluoride applications, too. Just because we grow up doesn’t mean we’re not susceptible to getting cavities. We regularly do fluoride treatments on both kids and adults.
An additional benefit to fluoride applied in the dental office is the reduction in tooth sensitivity. If you have areas in your mouth that feel sensitive to cold, ask us how fluoride can help.
Do I Need A Fluoride Treatment?
Many patients ask us if they should still have fluoride treatment if they’re already using a fluoridated toothpaste at home and live in an area with fluoridated water. Our answer is almost always yes. The fluoride found in over-the-counter toothpaste and mouth rinse is a very low concentration. The fluoride found in tap water is even lower. By applying a concentrated fluoride varnish while at the dentist, your teeth get the boost they need to maintain healthy strong enamel and prevent sensitivity.
*For people who are more prone to develop cavities, this extra dose of fluoride can be the difference between more fillings or no more fillings!
Fluoride Can Help Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
In many adults, we see gum recession. Gum recession is where a portion of the tooth’s root that should normally be covered by gum tissue, becomes exposed. There are a few causes of gum recession but often the result is a sensitive tooth. The root surface can feel much more sensitive than the enamel-covered crown of the tooth. In this scenario, we can apply a fluoride varnish to the exposed root. The varnish helps to block sensitivity and give relief for up to six months.
Preventing Cavities Saves Time, Discomfort, and Money
Fluoride treatments along with regular check-up appointments and cleanings are the surest way to prevent dental issues. It’s much faster, more comfortable and less expensive to keep up with your preventive care than spend hours repairing damage that could have been avoided. Let us help you keep your mouth healthy!
Sealants are preventive coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of healthy molars. Kids tend to get cavities in the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of their back teeth. When we apply a sealant to the tooth while it’s still healthy, it helps prevent a cavity from forming. Sealants are not permanent. They’ll typically wear down after a few years at which point we simply replace them. No numbing is required and they’re quick and easy to apply. Yes, we can apply sealants to adults’ teeth, too!
Fluoride and Sealants: What to Expect
Fluoride is typically applied during a regularly scheduled cleaning appointment. Sealants are applied as needed. When the dentist does an exam, if any sealants are recommended, we’ll let you know.
The fluoride treatment is fast and easy. The dentist or hygienist will use a tiny brush to apply a small amount of varnish to the molars and if needed, any areas where teeth are extra sensitive. You’ll avoid hot and crunchy foods for 2 hours so the varnish stays in place, but cool and soft foods are fine right after your appointment. You can brush normally that night.
Dental Sealant Application
Sealants are also quick and simple to apply. The dentist or hygienist will make sure the tooth surface is completely clean and dry, then prepare the tooth with an etch before applying a thin coating of sealant material to the grooves of the molars. A special blue light cures the sealant, hardening it so you can eat and chew normally. You won’t even notice they’re there!
Contact us today
to schedule an initial consultation & exam.
Your consultation will include an examination of everything from your teeth, gums and soft tissues to the shape and condition of your bite. Generally, we want to see how your whole mouth looks and functions. Before we plan your treatment we want to know everything about the health and aesthetic of your smile, and, most importantly, what you want to achieve so we can help you get there.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can eat or drink right away. Just avoid very hot food and drink and don’t have anything very crunchy so the varnish stays in place for at least two hours.
Did you know that fluoride is actually a naturally occurring mineral? Small concentrations of fluoride are naturally present in some sources of drinking water. Scientists caught on to the benefits of fluoride when it was noticed that people who lived near fluoridated sources of water had less tooth decay. Since then, fluoride has been added to other sources of drinking water and to routine dental care regimens. Fluoride treatment has been safely preventing dental decay in the U.S. since 1945. The American Dental Association recommends the use of fluoride for the prevention of dental decay.
Dental sealants can last up to 10 years with routine oral hygiene and regular checkups. Make sure to brush and floss regularly and avoid acidic food and drink, especially before bed. If dental sealants become chipped or worn, a dentist or hygienist can easily repair it.
Yes, they can. There’s no age limit to these preventive care treatments and they’re effective at any age.
The concentration of fluoride in drinking water is less than 1 ppm (part per million). In over-the-counter toothpaste, it’s 1,000 ppm. The concentration in a prescription toothpaste is 5,000 ppm. The concentration in our fluoride varnish is 21,000 ppm. This is why it’s so effective.