Fluoride Treatments

How a Fluoride Treatment Can Reduce Cavities

The idea of regular fluoride treatments at a dental office may not be part of many patients’ routines but, for some, these treatments can prevent cavities or even reverse tooth decay.
Fluoride is an organic mineral that is already in a person’s bones and teeth. It can be found in plants, rocks, the air, soil, and water. However, the amounts naturally occurring are fairly insignificant.
That is why governments felt decades ago that adding fluoride to water would be a way to help prevent cavities and bone loss. Fluoride can also be found in toothpaste, mouth rinses, and supplements. The problem is that isn’t as much as what a dentist would use in a fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps strengthen enamel, which prevents cavities.

Benefits of Dental Fluoride Treatments

A fluoride treatment at a dentist's office is different from giving a patient a mouth rinse at the end of a routine dental exam. A fluoride treatment is designed to remineralize tooth enamel and even fight tooth decay in its early stages.

Tooth decay and cavities start when the tooth loses minerals. That weakens the enamel and bacteria can attack it. Eventually, a cavity starts, and a pit or hole forms.

Remineralizing with fluoride can slow down mineral loss and prevent bacteria from growing. This enamel can rebuild itself and that could reverse tooth decay as long as it's Stage I.

Scientists know that fluoride has benefits because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has statistics that the number of tooth issues in children dropped by 68 percent after fluoride was introduced in water, added to toothpaste, and used in other dental products.

Mineralization Loss

Mineralization loss starts with what you eat, particularly sugar and carbohydrates. Bacteria break these down until the sugars and carbs create acids that eat away at the tooth’s minerals in the enamel. That weakens the tooth.

Fluoride Treatment Procedure

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The dentist can have fluoride in different forms that can be used as a treatment. It can be in a varnish, gel, or foam. The treatment starts with the dentist applying it, whatever form it's in, with a brush or swab on the teeth. It can also be put on a mouth tray which is inserted into the mouth for a few minutes. The teeth absorb the fluoride.

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It's important not to eat or drink anything for a half hour after getting a dental fluoride treatment. You want your teeth to fully absorb it. Additional recommendations are to restrict your diet to soft foods for four hours after treatment. Also, you shouldn't brush or floss for at least four hours.

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Fluoride treatments at a dental office are an additional cost. Insurance may pay for it, depending on the insurance company. They are recommended for those with ongoing issues with cavities and tooth decay, weakened teeth, or cavities in the early stages.

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Those who suspect they have an early-stage cavity or want extra protection for weak teeth should make an appointment for a fluoride treatment!

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