Good oral health is about more than fixing problems; we want to help our patients prevent problems. The more we can keep disease at bay, the stronger your teeth will be.
At Irvine Dentistry, we offer preventive services to keep you and your family's oral health in pristine condition.
One of these services, a professional fluoride treatment, can be a valuable preventive tool in building strong teeth and maintaining healthy levels of enamel when applied appropriately.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that is found in soil, foods, and water. It is often referred to as nature's cavity fighter. It is also one of the minerals that strengthens our enamel, which is the hard outer layer of a tooth.
Though our teeth feel smooth, they are actually a mash of layers or shards pressed firmly together. Every day, as we use our teeth normally, our enamel loses some of these shards in a process we call demineralization.
During demineralization, our enamel is further weakened by the acid-producing bacteria found in plaque. With time, the shards are replaced by our body in a process known as remineralization. We can help the remineralization process through the application of fluoride.
Remineralization of our teeth uses minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate. These minerals are redeposited to the enamel from consuming certain foods and water. Unfortunately, the rate or demineralization often exceeds that of remineralization, resulting in tooth decay and cavities.
Having a professional fluoride treatment increases the process and speed of remineralization, strengthening the enamel layer, and preventing tooth decay. Fluoride can even reverse minor instances of decay.
Who Needs Fluoride Treatment?
Dr. Christianne Lee
may recommend a fluoride treatment if you or a family member show signs of need including growing new teeth, thin enamel, consumption of well water, or poor health.
|Growing New Teeth: We will often recommend a fluoride treatment to all of our children or adolescent aged patients who are currently growing new teeth. Fluoride has been found to be beneficial to new teeth, helping them grow stronger from the beginning.
|Have Thin Enamel: During your regular checkup, we may see areas of thin enamel. This could be something we observe in any age group. We will recommend a fluoride treatment to assist in the growth of enamel to boost the health of the teeth.
|Consume Well Water: Today, many municipal drinking systems have incorporated fluoride into the drinking water. If you live in an area that does not, or if your home uses well water, we may recommend a fluoride treatment to help.
|Poor Health or Disability: There are a variety of medications and physical limitations that can impact your dental health. Patients who have decreased saliva production, restrictive motion, or anything that causes the inability to brush or floss easily, will benefit from that little extra preventive assistance that fluoride can provide.
Fluoride treatments are generally more common for children because tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States.
Why Should I Have a Fluoride Treatment When Recommended?
Your dental health matters, not just for your mouth, but your overall health. Increasingly, doctors are understanding the link between many systemic diseases and oral health. We want to help your teeth prevent decay.
Untreated tooth decay exacerbates in greater complications including the need for root canal therapy, or even the loss of tooth and bone. A professional fluoride treatment can prevent issues in both children and adults.
Fluoride Treatments for Children
Studies have found that a professionally applied fluoride boost prevents about one-third of the decay in primary (baby) teeth. These primary teeth are a crucial part of a child’s tooth development. If a primary tooth is lost prematurely due to tooth decay, it may lead to eruption issues with the permanent teeth.
Fluoride Treatments for Adults
Adults also benefit from a professionally applied fluoride treatment. Older adults are at a higher risk for developing dental caries. Luckily, topical fluorides like toothpaste, mouth rinses, and professional treatments help fight decay at any age. How your fluoride treatment is provided will be based on your particular needs.
Fluoride Treatment Procedure
We will often review the status of your teeth as part of your annual dental cleaning and examination. We may prescribe a fluoride treatment at this time. It is quick and painless.
Dr. Lee will apply a prescription strength fluoride directly to the enamel. The fluoride may be in the form of a gel, foam, varnish, or solution.
We will apply the fluoride with a brush, cotton swab, or tray depending on the form. After a few minutes we will advise you of the next step; for some this may mean to spit, for others it may be to remain in place. We ask that you not rinse, eat, or drink anything for at least 30 minutes. This allows the enamel to properly absorb the fluoride and repair microscopic decay.
Fluoride treatment may be recommended every three, six, or 12 months depending on you or your family's oral health. We may also recommend other preventative services like dental sealants.
For some patients, we may prescribe a fluoride supplement to be used at home. They are useful in combating tooth decay, especially if your drinking water is not fluoridated. The supplement will strengthen the tooth from within.
Is Fluoride Safe?
In recent years, the topic of fluoride safety has been discussed. Fluoride is safe when used appropriately. There is an appropriate amount of fluoride that is safe, and there is also an excessive level that can cause complications such as fluorosis.
According to the recommendations from the American Dental Association: It is safe to use fluoridated toothpastes and rinses that are store bought and used as directed. It is safe to drink locally fluoridated water. It is safe to have a fluoride treatment completed in our office. It may not be safe to use products against the directions, or that are not approved by the American Dental Association.
At Irvine Dentistry, we are happy to review and discuss any products you are questioning.
Schedule An Appointment Today!
If you would like to schedule an appointment for fluoride treatment in Irvine, CA, please call (949) 656-2933 today!