You’ve reduced your sugar intake. You’ve got a brag-worthy flossing and brushing routine. You even see your dentist regularly – but you still seem to be prone to cavities. What’s the problem? Cavity-prone patients often have compromised tooth enamel, which can cause cavities to creep up for people who otherwise have great dental hygiene. In these cases, fluoride varnish can be a big help. But what is fluoride varnish, and how can it help your dental health? Read on to find out more.
What Is Fluoride Varnish?
What Is Fluoride?
To understand the appeal of fluoride varnish, you have to understand the power of fluoride. You’ve probably seen fluoride listed on most toothpaste labels in the grocery store – but what is it, exactly? Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral known for its ability to strengthen tooth enamel. Fluoride serves several functions, including preventing bacterial growth and even reversing early tooth decay. It’s so powerful that cities all over the world have implemented “community water fluoridation” – in other words, adding fluoride to the public water supply to improve dental health for the general public. Ultimately, fluoride is a powerful tool that helps protect against tooth decay. This is where fluoride varnish comes in as a supplement to your dental hygiene routine.
What Does Fluoride Varnish Do?
Fluoride varnish is an in-office dental service available to both children and adults. These professional fluoride treatments help protect against cavities and help break down the bacteria in your mouth. This helps in two ways: First, it strengthens your tooth enamel to protect against bacteria, which can cause what is known as “enamel demineralization.” Fluoride varnish treatments also reduce the amount of bacteria bombarding your enamel. This helps reduce the occurrence of tooth decay and cavities. All of these factors explain why dentists recommend receiving a professional fluoride treatment twice a year.
What Can I Expect During a Fluoride Treatment?
Fluoride varnish is an easy in-office procedure that dentists can conduct during a patient’s routine dental exams. The fluoride varnish treatment is applied topically, meaning it’s non-invasive and doesn’t require anesthetic. After your dentist cleans your teeth, the fluoride is simply applied to the surface of each tooth. Children are also eligible for fluoride treatments, although their treatments are slightly different. Children’s treatments involve a substance called silver diamine fluoride, which is used to prevent cavities in baby teeth. Fluoride treatments for both children and adults are typically covered by dental insurance as preventative care.
What Can I Expect After a Fluoride Treatment?
As mentioned above, there’s absolutely no pain or unpleasantness associated with a fluoride treatment. No drilling or anesthetic is involved, and you shouldn’t notice any discomfort after you leave your appointment. Your dentist will advise you to avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after the treatment; after that, you can eat soft foods and drink beverages normally. You should, however, avoid hard foods and refrain from brushing your teeth for at least four hours after the treatment. This will ensure that the fluoride penetrates the tooth without interruption.
Have you noticed that you seem prone to cavities? Maybe you’re making up for having a lackluster dental hygiene routine earlier in your life. Either way, talk to your dentist about applying a fluoride varnish treatment. This easy, non-invasive procedure takes just minutes and can be completed during your routine dental exam. Regular fluoride varnish treatments can help prevent more costly, invasive dental procedures like cavity fillings and root canals.
Looking for a new dentist? Contact Wilkinson Dental if you live in or near Springfield, Missouri. You can request an appointment online or give us a call at 417-882-8222. We look forward to hearing from you.