Applying fluoride to the surfaces of your teeth is an excellent way to strengthen tooth enamel. The minerals inside of fluoride help restore necessary crystals in the pores of the tooth. It can also be used to block sensitivity, reverse enamel demineralization (early tooth decay) and fight cavities.
One of the most efficient ways to achieve the best fluoride absorption is by having a professional strength varnish applied after your dental cleaning. Varnish is different than gel forms of fluoride. The texture of the varnish permits it to cling to the enamel’s surface for hours after the application. To apply the varnish, the hygienist or assistant gently brushes it across the surfaces of clean, dried teeth. You’ll feel a slightly sticky texture, but the material isn’t visible when you talk or smile. Varnish is so effective, that it can delay the need for treating areas in the very beginning stages of tooth decay. For patients with severe sensitivity, varnish may be more effective than over the counter sensitivity products. Some patients report instant decreased sensitivity that lasts as long as 3 months after the application.
Most dental insurance plans will cover professional fluoride treatment on children, and some adults. If it’s not covered, patients find the minimal cost of the procedure to be well worth the investment! If you’ve experienced a history of frequent cavities, gum recession, tooth sensitivity, wear braces, or have a child whose adult teeth are still developing, then it’s worth it to request a fluoride application at least twice each year. It takes just a couple of minutes to apply, and you won’t even have to wait to eat or drink afterward!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care
Anyone who’s been to the dentist in the last 30 years knows about fluoride gel and the foam-like tray that is used to hold it in your mouth at the end of a cleaning appointment. In the past this was the most effective way to replace vital minerals into your teeth and reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and strengthen enamel.
The application of fluoride has transformed over the past decade into other types of delivery; namely, the fluoride varnish. Fluoride varnish may not be visually appealing as it has a slight yellow tint and a bit of a sticky texture, but it is much more effective at long-term delivery of the mineral to the surface of your teeth. The varnish is applied over your teeth after a cleaning, and there are no time restrictions as to waiting to eat or drink anything afterward. Just avoid brushing your teeth until at least 6 hours have passed so that maximum absorption is achieved.
Varnish works more effectively because it adheres to your teeth longer, allowing the enamel to absorb the mineral. The fast uptake also means that application is very fast and there is no need to trigger a gag reflex with a foam tray. The varnish is simply brushed onto the teeth with a small applicator. After varnish is applied you may notice a slightly fuzzy feeling to your teeth, and if you look closely you can see some of the lingering residue as it clings to your teeth.
Fluoride varnish is a wonderful option for people who are especially prone to tooth decay, orthodontic patients, and patients with sensitive gag reflexes.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David Kurtzman
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