Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengthens the tooth enamel, making teeth resistant to cavities. Fluoride treatment involves the application of a high concentration of fluoride to an individual’s teeth to improve their health and risk of cavities. With the risks of ingesting fluoride, which can cause undesirable side effects, avoid administering this treatment on your own.
At Joshua M. Ignatowicz DMD & Associates, we help you understand what fluoride treatment is, including its benefits for improving your smile.
What is Fluoride Treatment?
Keeping your teeth healthy requires incorporating fluoride into your oral routine. Some communities add fluoride to their drinking water, and where this is not the case, using fluoride-based toothpaste is advisable. While these are effective methods of fluoride application to your teeth, our team may recommend a fluoride treatment should they suspect you need extra fluoride.
A fluoride treatment will include the application of highly concentrated fluoride foam, gel, or varnish to reduce the risk of cavities and improve your health. Foam or gel fluoride treatment is applicable multiple times a year. Our team will place the foam or gel in a tray matching the structure of your teeth and place it into your mouth. You will then bite into the gel or foam for several minutes for the fluoride to set in.
Fluoride varnish application requires direct painting onto the teeth by our experts. As the fluoride contacts your saliva, it sets in. The process will take up to six hours after application. Varnish features higher fluoride concentration than gel and foam, hence an effective fluoride treatment.
What Does Fluoride Treatment Do?
A fluoride treatment strengthens your tooth enamel, making them resistant to decay. The mouth has bacteria that, over time, make plaque. Plaque is a sticky film, and everyone has a significant amount of it in their teeth and gums. With poor oral hygiene, the bacteria in plaque will continue releasing acids, causing your teeth to lose minerals and be susceptible to decay.
Fortunately, tooth decay caused by demineralization is preventable by applying lost minerals, such as fluoride. Applying fluoride through fluoride treatment increases the growth and size of your tooth enamel’s crystals, and your tooth starts to remineralize and forms a stronger protection against plaque.
Is Fluoride Treatment Worth It?
Fluoride treatments protect your teeth from cavities by strengthening weakened surfaces through tooth remineralization. During this process, fluoride seeps into the teeth to replenish lost minerals that harden the teeth.
In adults, fluoride treatments are essential to individuals with moderate to high risk for cavities. Some circumstances may increase the need for this treatment, including medication that reduces saliva flow, creating a dry mouth. With the reduction in saliva, the risks for cavities are higher, necessitating a fluoride treatment.
Gum recession in adults is also another reason worth considering fluoride treatment. The root surface of the teeth is softer, and exposure increases their susceptibility. Adults with restorative works like bridges and crowns should also consider fluoride treatment to protect the margins of the restoration.
Individuals with sensitive teeth can also benefit from fluoride treatment. Acidic beverages and foods, gum recession, and teeth whitening products increase tooth sensitivity. Through fluoride treatment, you can remineralize your enamel and reduce sensitivity.
Fluoride treatments are also beneficial to cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment. Radiation interferes with salivary glands, reducing the flow of saliva. Other medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, and high blood pressure drugs also make individuals prone to tooth decay, hence ideal candidates for fluoride treatments.
Do Fluoride Treatments Work?
Fluoride treatment is effective. Some benefits of this treatment include strengthened enamel, slow tooth decay, and better utilization of minerals. Apart from your teeth, your body will benefit from fluoride treatment as intake of this mineral impacts the utilization of other minerals like calcium and phosphate, which are also useful to your teeth.
While strengthening the enamel and making it more resistant to decay, a fluoride treatment will also kill the bacteria in plaque, reducing the damaging acid they release.
When combined, the benefits of a fluoride treatment help reduce and slow the risk of cavities. This, in turn, reduces the need for additional dental work. With its role in cavity prevention, fluoride treatment also helps prevent gum disease and premature loss of teeth and reduces tooth pain.
Is Fluoride Treatment Safe?
Fluoride treatments are safe unless the patient is allergic to fluoride, which is rare. While there are risks, such as tooth discoloration from excess fluoride consumption, this is rare. Our team is trained on the procedure and knows the best quantity and format for application depending on your age and needs.
How Long After Fluoride Treatment Can I Eat?
After a fluoride treatment, we will instruct you to wait up to 30 minutes before eating. This duration allows the fluoride to soak into your enamel. Eating sooner than this may limit the benefits of the treatment. Your teeth may feel sensitive around the gums, but ideally, you should not experience discomfort.
The waiting period may vary depending on the kind of treatment you receive. Immediately after the treatment, avoid hard and chewy foods, as they could stress your teeth. Citrus foods may also increase sensitivity after treatment, so you should avoid them. Brushing or flossing immediately will negatively impact the fluoride settling in, and you should wait up to six hours to resume your routine.
For the best results after fluoride treatment, you should stick to our aftercare instructions, but after six hours, you are free to resume your daily habits. This includes eating and drinking your choice of food and brushing and flossing.
Schedule a Fluoride Treatment Today!
Cavities are a significant cause of tooth loss in both the young and old, and strengthening your tooth enamel is necessary to retain your natural teeth as you age. Consider regular fluoride treatments if you are at risk of tooth cavities.
At Joshua M. Ignatowicz DMD & Associates, we can help you choose the best option depending on your oral health. Reach out to us today through 702-473-5100, and we will schedule an appointment for you!