Preventive Care

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay and can repair teeth in the very early, microscopic stages of the decay process. In-office topical fluoride treatments have been used by dentists for decades to help protect the oral health of children and adults, especially patients who may be at a higher risk of developing caries. There are many factors that increase the risk of developing caries: poor oral hygiene; poor diet; active caries; exposed root surfaces of teeth; existing restorations (fillings); tooth enamel defects; undergoing head and neck radiation therapy; eating disorders; drug or alcohol abuse; lack of regular professional dental care; active orthodontic treatment combined with poor oral hygiene; and high levels of caries-causing bacteria in the mouth.

For the fluoride treatment, the dentist will place fluoride gel into a tray and this is placed in the patient’s mouth for one minute. After the treatment, the patient is asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas.

Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six or 12 months and are generally recommended for younger patients as the teeth are developing. The dentist may also recommend additional preventive measures such as over-the-counter fluoride mouth rinses, gels, or antibacterial mouth rinses. Be sure to ask your dentist if fluoride treatments are appropriate during your next appointment.

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