Fluoride is a natural mineral that safely strengthens tooth structure. It prevents and slows down cavity formation by making teeth more resistant to acid produced daily by oral bacteria. Fluoride penetrates tooth surfaces to re-mineralize areas that have been weakened by oral bacteria. In addition, fluoride can reduce tooth sensitivity caused by acidic foods, tooth whitening, recession and periodontal treatment. The presence of fluoride also decreases the damaging action of certain bacteria.
In-office fluoride treatments are commonly applied by biting on a foam tray filled with either a fluoride gel or foam. However, we can also apply fluoride varnish or recommend fluoride products that can be used at home.
Traditional fluoride treatments are usually gels or foams that are delivered onto the surfaces of your teeth for a set amount of time and then removed. You are then instructed not to eat or drink for 30 minutes. Fluoride varnishes also deliver a topical application of fluoride, just in a different system. Using a stickier varnish method, fluoride is applied to the surfaces of your teeth.
Advantages of fluoride varnish include:
- easier for you to tolerate (no trays or sponges)
- allows you to eat and drink immediately after placement
- has been clinically proven to be the most effective professional fluoride treatment available for cavities
- decreased chance of fluoride ingestion
The treatment period for fluoride varnish is approximately 4 to 6 hours. To obtain the maximum benefit during the treatment period, we ask that you follow the recommendations below after you leave our office.
- Do not brush or floss your teeth for at least 6 hours after treatment.
- Eat a soft food diet during the treatment period.
- Do not consume hot drinks or products containing alcohol (beverages, mouth rinses, etc.) during the treatment period.
- If possible, wait until the next day to resume normal oral hygiene.
A thorough brushing and flossing will easily remove any remaining fluoride varnish. Your teeth will return to the same shine and brightness as before the treatment.