Why does my dentist recommend dental fluoride treatments?

dental fluoride treatment

Dental fluoride treatments are performed at most dental cleanings. You may have never thought about receiving this treatment. Many people are not aware of the many benefits of fluoride and why it is highly recommended for both children and adults.

While some people seem to be immune from cavities, most dentists recommend that our patients use fluoride in their daily health regimens. It is found in many forms and provides numerous benefits to your dental health.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found on the periodic table. It occurs naturally in food and water and it prevents the growth of oral bacteria that can attack your teeth and gums.

Ways We Get Fluoride

Fluoride is commonly added to the public water supply. When we consume tap water we are ingesting it. Many processed foods and drinks also contain this mineral. Fluoridated water, a type of drinking water, is also available for purchase.

This mineral can also be found in many dental products. Fluoridated toothpaste is the main dental product that contains this mineral.  Brushing your teeth the recommended amount of twice daily allows you to get the full benefits, as well as calcium phosphate. Several types of mouthwashes also contain this mineral. 

How does fluoride help me?

When it is added to your oral care regimen, it strengthens your tooth enamel. It is especially beneficial for children who are at risk of tooth decay. Young patients are often given topical dental fluoride treatments to help foster a healthy environment for tooth development and guard against decay and cavities. 

The enamel of your teeth is probably not something you think about often. However, It is essential that you protect the enamel of your teeth because once the enamel is lost or eroded, you can’t replace it. Tooth enamel is not a living tissue like the other parts of your teeth and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

When is fluoride most important?

It is important regardless if you’re young or old. It’s important for both children and adults to have exposure to fluoride. Children need it in order to help their teeth become strong and to prevent tooth decay. It not only protects the baby teeth, but also helps protect the permanent teeth, as well. 

Adults benefit because it is important in preventing cavities and future tooth decay that can lead to other dental issues. It also reverses early signs of tooth decay which helps your teeth throughout adulthood.

However, children benefit from topical application or ingesting fluoride because it gets into their developing teeth. Adults benefit only from topical applications. 

Are there other types of applications?

Dentists can provide dental fluoride treatments in the form of gel foam or varnish. Supplements are also another option. These treatments can help stop your teeth from decaying further and restore some of your enamel’s strength. 

Dentists can also prescribe treatments such as mouth rinses to be used at home. There are many different types of treatments and your dentist can suggest a treatment based on your needs.

What happens during a dental fluoride treatment?

A treatment performed in our office is a relatively simple procedure. The topical fluoride that we use is a stronger concentration when you compare with over the counter products so you can receive the maximum benefits from the treatment. 

Typically a type of fluoride varnish is brushed or painted on your teeth or can also be used in a tray. The entire treatment is quick and painless and your teeth are good to go. Your dentist may suggest that you wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything in order to allow the varnish to dry and adhere to the teeth. 

Depending on the condition of your teeth you may need to come in for more than one treatment. Dr. Fondriest will go over your recommended treatment plan during your initial examination. It’s imperative that you follow his recommendations in order to get the most out of your treatment. 

Is there such a thing as too much fluoride?

While fluoride supplements provide many benefits to our teeth, an excessive amount of fluoride can have negative effects. Too much fluoride, which many dentists refer to as dental fluorosis, can cause staining of the enamel. Other problems that can occur with especially high doses are cognitive problems, ADHD, acne, and thyroid dysfunction. Always follow your dentist’s advice and contact us if you have any concerns.

Fluoride free toothpaste is available for children that are not yet old enough to rinse properly after brushing. When teaching a child to use a toothpaste it is important that you supervise your child to ensure they are not swallowing the toothpaste. It’s also beneficial to begin with a small amount of toothpaste, comparable to a grain of rice. If you have any questions about potential side effects please inquire with your dentist.

How do I know if I need extra fluoride?

The only way to determine if you need additional fluoride is from a thorough dental examination. Dr. Fondriest can perform a thorough dental examination to assess whether or not you could benefit from dental fluoride treatments. In addition to a dental examination, the best protection against tooth decay and cavities is a regular oral hygiene regimen and routine dental cleanings. Doing your part to prevent cavities is key to preventing further issues down the road.

Per the ADA, you should undergo dental examinations at least two times per year. Diagnosing and correcting dental issues early on can prevent more extensive treatment in the future and also save you a lot of heartache.

How can I find out more about dental fluoride treatments?

If you’re concerned about your oral health and would like to find out if you’re a good candidate for dental fluoride treatments then please contact our Chicago dentist office at (847) 234-0517. Our staff can schedule you for an initial examination with Dr. Fondriest. We serve patients in North Shore and the surrounding Chicago communities and look forward to helping you.