Fluoride treatments performed at your Houston dentist’s office allow for quick, effective treatment to strengthen teeth and to help prevent cavity formation.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is an ionic form of the element fluorine that can be found in many mineralized compounds. It is useful in slowing the demineralization process that causes the breakdown of tooth enamel, which can eventually lead to tooth decay and possible tooth loss. Fluoride operates at the microscopic level to fix small holes in tooth enamel if it is brought into contact with the tooth surface, which can happen when it is present in saliva or by means of a fluoride rinse or other fluoride treatment.
Systemic fluoride treatment
Systemic treatments are where fluoride is swallowed, which eventually leads to low levels of the fluoride ion in saliva that then coats the teeth. Public water fluoridation is a widespread public health practice that is known to be effective at preventing cavity formation, especially in children. However, this may not be enough, in which case additional topical treatments performed by your dental practitioner can help. Some people may get much less fluoride this way depending on their water consumption practices. People who exclusively drink bottled water may or may not be getting fluoride this way, and will certainly not be if drinking brands of bottled water labeled ‘deionized,’ ’purified,’ or ‘demineralized.’ Fluoride tablets are available to increase fluoride levels, though care should be taken not to take in too much fluoride, which can be harmful. Alternatively, topical treatments available from your dentist can be used to repair and protect tooth enamel directly.
Topical fluoride treatments
These treatments involve introducing high concentrations of fluoride brought in direct contact with the enamel surface, rather than ingesting it where it will eventually lead to significant fluoride levels in saliva that then coats the teeth continuously. Your dentist may give you a high concentration fluoride rinse to use, which you do not swallow but spit out. Afterward, you will be asked to refrain from rinsing the mouth and eating or drinking for 30 or more minutes to allow the fluoride to do its work. Other topical treatments your dentist can provide are fluoride foams, gels, and varnish to coat the teeth. Your dentist will clean and dry your teeth first to ensure maximum effectiveness. Recommended intervals between fluoride treatments can vary from every three months to annually depending on your oral health status and the degree of protection needed.
If you want to strengthen your tooth enamel and give it added protection, contact Houston’s Ingenious Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.