While you may have heard that the use of fluoride in dental care has sometimes been controversial, there is no denying that fluoride treatment is vital for maintaining great oral health. Fluoride treatment is generally included as part of a routine dental cleaning and exam, where a patient visits their dentist to have their teeth cleaned and to identify any potential problems that need treatment.
Fluoride treatment is generally at the end of such an examination. It is used to strengthen the patient’s teeth and prevent various dental problems, like cavities.
If you are new to the idea of fluoride treatments, here is all the essential information you need to know.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in many items such as food, drinks, and toothpaste. In the dental industry, fluoride is used in treatments to fight the harmful effects of oral bacteria and strengthen a person’s teeth. The type generally used by dentists is sodium fluoride, which reduces the risk of cavities, strengthens enamel and helps to regulate the bacteria in your mouth.
What are the benefits of fluoride treatment?
There are many benefits gained from fluoride treatment, some of which you may not have realized were possible for you.
The first benefit of fluoride treatment is that it protects your tooth’s enamel. The enamel’s main job is to protect your teeth from general decay and damage. However, eating and drinking certain foods, especially acidic ones, can cause this enamel to degrade and demineralize. Without this layer of protection, a tooth is at high risk for developing cavities. With fluoride treatment, you enhance the enamel’s protective properties and reduce tooth sensitivity.
The second benefit of fluoride treatment is that it prevents tooth decay, also known as cavities. When you eat, you provide various starches and sugars that feed the bacteria in your mouth, which triggers them to produce an acid that can break down your teeth. This leads to tooth decay. With fluoride treatment, you neutralize bacteria and strengthen tooth enamel, so the risk of cavities drops significantly. While it does not eliminate the possibility, it significantly reduces the risk.
The third benefit we’ll mention is that fluoride treatment helps you save a lot of money in the long run. While some insurance carriers cover the cost of fluoride treatments, many only cover them up to a certain age (usually teens and younger). For adults, there may be an out-of-pocket fee for receiving fluoride treatment. However, though the treatment itself may not be free to you, the small investment will pay off in the long run because it helps reduce the risk of various oral-related problems. These problems, like the need for fillings, crowns and tooth extractions, are costly to treat. With fluoride treatment in addition to your regular dental visits and daily personal oral hygiene, you might be able to avoid all of these issues. If problems do occur, they’re often less extensive in severity, which means they will be less expensive to treat.
When should I use fluoride?
Unless there are certain health reasons you are unable to use fluoride, everyone over age two should consider receiving fluoride treatments at least twice a year, in addition to using fluoride toothpaste for twice daily brushing. If you are at high risk of dental cavities, which your dentist or hygienist will be able to tell you, then additional fluoride treatments are excellent to bolster your teeth’s health and address the bacteria that lead to cavities. If you are unsure whether you need such treatment, visit your dentist and ask for the information you need. They will closely examine your oral health and can recommend fluoride treatments as needed. Your dentist may also recommend particular toothpastes, some requiring a prescription, with higher fluoride content to address particular concerns like tooth sensitivity or high caries risk.
What happens during treatment?
While the process can vary from one dentist to another, fluoride treatment is generally performed with swabs, plates, brushes, or mouthwash. The dentist will use any of these tools or products to apply fluoride to your teeth for a few minutes. After that, your treatment is complete.
Fluoride treatments are completely painless. However, note that your dentist might instruct you to avoid eating or drinking anything for half an hour or more after receiving the treatment. You need to follow their advice to ensure that the fluoride properly sets on your teeth, allowing it to do its job and produce the best results.
How often should I have fluoride treatment done?
If you are a generally healthy person with good oral hygiene, getting fluoride treatment twice a year as part of your regular dental cleanings should be enough.
If you have a lifestyle or medical condition that makes you prone to dental problems, multiple treatments throughout a year may be necessary for best results. For example, if you have diabetes or gum disease, or if you are a heavy smoker, you may need to visit your dentist more often, about once every three months, but ask your dentist to be certain.
Fluoride treatment is beneficial to everyone’s oral health. In some cases, it is a must-have treatment to save your teeth from further decay.
As we said earlier, fluoride treatment offers you plenty of advantages. It restores fluoride in your teeth, which helps prevent cavities. In fact, studies have found that individuals who have been exposed to fluoride have had a significantly lower risk of developing tooth decay and other dental problems.
If you still have questions about fluoride treatment, do not hesitate to contact your dentist. They will give you the information you need to know regarding the treatment and clear any of the confusion you may be facing that is preventing you from taking advantage of this service.
If you are interested in getting fluoride treatment, don’t wait! Healthier and stronger teeth await you at the end of treatment, and it will not take longer than a few minutes.
Remember, when you have a healthy mouth, you also boost your overall health. In other words, you can smile with full confidence, and you can enjoy a much better quality of life with excellent health.
Anderson Dental Care is a family dental office that offers various dental services, including crowns, bridges, x-rays, and fluoride treatments. If you are looking for an awesome dental office in Cincinnati, get in touch with us right away to book an appointment!