Affordable Fluoride Treatments
While fluoride treatments are generally thought to be for young children, they can help patients at any age. The need for a flouride treatment comes not from age, but rather your oral health and your risk of developing cavities. Some factors can make you more prone to developing tooth decay. Your dentist may suggest using a topical fluoride treatment to give some strength back to your tooth enamel and combat decay. To see if you're in need of a fluoride treatment, or if your teeth can benefit just use our "dentist near me" ZIP search tool to find a Castle Dental location nearest you. During your appointment your dentist will assess the health of your teeth and determine if a fluoride treatment is going to give you the oral benefits you'll need.
There are many factors that can increase the likelihood that you will need a fluoride treatment. If you have dry mouth, gum disease, frequent cavities, dental crowns, or are wearing braces, you may greatly benefit from using a fluoride treatment to help strengthen your teeth. When you have conditions that leave your mouth dry, you aren't able to remove food particles as easy. When they build up, they leave behind plaque which contributes to the development of tooth decay. In combination with tooth decay, gum disease is a frequently caused dental disease from improper oral hygiene. Coupled with a dry mouth, the conditions can become much worse. Having dental work via dental crowns and braces leave part of your natural tooth or part of your exposed tooth susceptible to food getting trapped. Bacteria will run its course and build up plaque in the same way. A fluoride treatment works by strengthening the enamel in these difficult areas.
Are there any risks using a fluoride treatment?
While not common, it is possible to expose your body to too much fluoride. It can be a great option to strengthen the enamel on your teeth, but patients are advised to use it at a dentist's discretion or to have a professional fluoride treatment performed at an appointment. Toxicity can happen when patients take too much fluoride in relation to their body weight. This is why fluoride intake in children must be monitored.
When a patient has too much fluoride in their system, a defective side effect known as fluorosis can happen. You'll know if you are developing fluorosis by noticing white spots or streaks on the enamel of your teeth. While they may not appear all that noticeable, it's important to watch out for their development, especially in children. While this may not happen from one individual treatment of fluoride, it can happen when an individual is consuming fluoride from several sources. In some cases this can happen unbeknownst to the patient. Sources of fluoride include well water, grape products, cocoa powder, walnuts, dried beans, tea plants can all have traces of fluoride.
What are the benefits of fluoride treatments?
Perhaps you've already heard of a fluoride treatment, but do you know what it's actually doing to protect your teeth? Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in food and water. It's properties act to remineralize the enamel on your teeth. Every day our enamel become worn away, and a demineralization process occurs from the acid in our foods and plaque. Fluoride counteracts this process and strengthens the enamel of our teeth through remineralization. When the enamel of our teeth is stronger, it does a better job at fighting tooth decay.
Tooth decay happens as the food we consume and the bacteria in our teeth start to produce acid. Acid wears away at our tooth's enamel, causing small holes to form. When a hole is formed, it is called a cavity. Your dentist will repair a small cavity with a filling. Fluoride can help make the enamel of your teeth much more resistant to this process and can even reverse signs of early decay in many cases. Fluoride treatments for children under the age of 6, are suggested for the same reason. At this age Children's teeth are developing while they are learning how to properly care for their teeth with brushing and flossing. If they lack proper care, or a poor diet, they are more susceptible to developing tooth decay that can impact their adult teeth. With a fluoride treatment, children are able to strengthen the enamel of their teeth, acting as an extra layer of protection.
What kinds of fluoride are there?
Apply fluoride to your teeth with a topical fluoride treatment.
When most people think of a fluoride treatment, they think of a topical treatment. Topical fluoride treatments are when the dentist applies a fluoride solution directly to the surface of your teeth. They come in a variety of forms including toothpaste, mouth rinses, or gels. They can be applied at home in small doses or can be applied at a dental office for more effective options. If you have a mild case of demineralization or gum disease and your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter fluoride mouthrinse to help keep your teeth strong. In more severe cases, having an application by a professional dentist can be the most effective means to a strong enamel.
If you opt to have a fluoride treatment performed at your dentist's office, your dentist will use a specialized foam or gel that's placed inside of a disposable tray. Typically your dentist will clean your teeth to remove any plaque build up. Then, they will place the tray and solution in your mouth over your teeth for a few minutes. The solution can also be applied directly to each tooth, rather than using a tray. The solution of gel or foam used by your dentist will be much stronger and more effective than the stuff you'll find at your pharmacy. In some cases, your dentist may recommend you follow up with an at-home treatment and prescribe you a fluoride gel to use and apply at home.
Topical Fluoride Treatment at the Dentist
There are a few different types of fluoride treatments your dentist may recommend. However, the application process is fairly similar. First, your teeth will need to be dry to keep the fluoride as strong as possible. Any moisture may dilute the fluoride. If the fluoride is a gel or foam, you will use a mouth tray for your teeth to sit in the solution. If it's a varnish, the solution is painted onto each tooth with a brush or cotton swab. You will need torefrain from swallowing while the solution sits on your teeth. This process only takes a few minutes.
Once the treatment has been applied and rinsed off, you should refrain from consuming water and food for at least 30 minutes. This gives your teeth the chance to fully absorb the flouride.
For some patients one treatment is enough. For others, your dentist may recommend you follow up with several fluoride treatments to strengthen your enamel. Your dentist may also recommend you use a fluoride treatment at home as part of your oral care routine.
Internally taking fluoride through a systemic fluoride treatment.
Another way to get fluoride to help your teeth isn't through your teeth themselves. Patients can also choose to use a systemic fluoride treatment. This allows the fluoride to strengthen your teeth through the body, internally. This can be a good option for children that need to strengthen their teeth while they are developing. This type of systemic intake can happen from fluoridated water and drinks, prescription fluoride supplements, and small traces of fluoride in food. In some public drinking water, fluoride is actually present to help children strengthen the enamel on their teeth through tap water.
Why does fluoride matter for children?
Children's teeth are constantly developing. As your child grows, your dentist may recommend using fluoride as a way to help strengthen your child's teeth. Through the development process their adult teeth are also undergoing a transformation under the surface. Fluoride can help encourage the growth of strong, healthy enamel. This is why systemic fluoride treatments can help. If you and your dentist decide that a systemic fluoride treatment is best for your child, be sure to monitor their intake. You'll want to go over proper dosage with your dentist, as well as consider the other sources that your child may be obtaining fluoride from.
Other sources of fluoride to remineralize your teeth include:
- Well water: As fluoride is a naturally occuring mineral, well water can have some traces of fluoride that are beneficial to your oral health. If you and your family are consuming well water on a regular basis, it's a good practice to have your well water tested to see what minerals it contains. Looking at the fluoride levels, you can talk to your dentist about the right amount for you and/or your children. It's particularly something to be aware of if you are using a supplemental fluoride.
- Toothpaste: Almost all types of toothpaste contain some amount of fluoride that is used to remineralize your teeth both morning and night. You can read the labels to view exactly how much is being used. Your dentist may recommend a certain type of toothpaste over others
- Supplemental fluoride: Usually prescribed by a dentist, supplemental fluoride is taken as a tablet. Keep these tablets away from small children, especially those under the age of two.
- Fluoride mouthwash: Mouthwash that contains fluoride, or a fluoride rinse is good to use after your teeth to help strengthen enamel. It will help lower your chances of developing a cavity. Your dentist may recommend using a mouthwash rinse with fluoride after you brush your teeth.
Using fluoride is a bit of a balancing act. Not enough fluoride, and your teeth are more susceptible to the effects of tooth decay. Too much fluoride and you run the risk of toxicity. However, most patients shouldn't be all too concerned with too much fluoride intake, as it would require a high combination of fluoride intake from various sources. If you are ever questioning how much fluoride you should be using to maintain the health of your teeth, ask your dentist what the right amount is.
Find Fluoride Treatment at a Dentist Near Me
Fluoride treatments can be provided to you on their own or after an oral exam or teeth cleaning. If you think you need a fluoride treatment, or you'd like to find out how it can boost your oral health, you can make an appointment with a local Castle Dental office online or by phone at 1-800-867-6453. To find an office near you, you can use our zip code tool called "dentist near me" to find a few locations in your area. You could be minutes away from a stronger, healthier smile.