Purpose of fluoride treatments

Fluoride provides a source of a vital mineral that helps to build strong teeth in patients of all ages. For this reason, the best dentists in Plano recommend topical fluoride treatments for all of their patients, as a way to supplement other sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and water.

In a developing child, fluoride is essential to preventing tooth decay ensuring that the permanent teeth are strong and healthy. As such, pediatric dentists will often use a fluoride varnish on patient’s teeth or prescribe supplemental fluoride tablets for use at home.

Certainly, fluoride has value for developing teeth in children, but if you think that fluoride is only important for the younger crowd, think again. In adults, the teeth are prone to demineralization, which occurs when the enamel is exposed to harmful bacteria found in plaque. However, when dentists apply fluoride directly to the teeth, it helps to re-mineralize them and make them stronger and more resistant to decay.

Dentists can coat the teeth with a gel or foam that contains higher levels of fluoride than those found in water or toothpaste. The treatment takes only about five minutes, and the patient should not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes after the treatment to give the fluoride time to penetrate the enamel.

Even if you use toothpaste with fluoride and have access to fluoridated water, you will still benefit from supplemental fluoride treatments that promote the re-mineralization process.

Certain groups of patients may find fluoride treatments to be particularly beneficial. People who are prone to dry mouth, gum disease or tooth decay can use the extra fluoride to ward off the negative effects of an overabundance of bacteria. Additionally, patients with certain appliances, such as crowns and orthodontics, can be more susceptible to decay and in greater need of fluoride, as well. Even patients who like to snack throughout the day—giving bacteria more sugars to feed on—can use fluoride treatments.

For best results, the teeth should be professionally cleaned prior to the application of a topical fluoride treatment. At your next dentist appointment, ask if a fluoride treatment would be beneficial in your case.