On a regular day a lot of my time is spent seeing patients in the hygienists’ room. Patients get their teeth cleaned, polished looking spic and span, things feel great and the tongue feels great sliding over the newly polished pearls. Then just as you’re about to head for the door, the hygienist recommends fluoride. “Fluoride? But why do I need Fluoride? I got fluoride as a kid, I’m not a kid! Does my insurance cover it?
So… I’m writing my first blog to try and answer some of the questions that you may have as the hygienist is coming towards you with a creamy paste covered brush that’s going to stop your teeth from feeling like they’ve just been to the dentist!!!!
In the dental office we use fluoride varnish, the varnish is simply brushed on to the teeth after a routine cleaning. The varnish releases fluoride slowly so even as you head out of the door, its working to keep your teeth healthy.
How does it help my teeth? We hear this all the time at the office – and it’s a great question! Fluoride is a tooth’s super armor against disease. It is absorbed into the enamel making the tooth resistant to decay and helps prevent cavities. It also promotes remineralization of the tooth, this in turn aids in repairing decay before the damage is even visible.
Fluoride is especially helpful if you:
Use medication which causes dry mouth: saliva is another armor the teeth have in fighting bacteria, when you use medications which reduce your saliva you are more susceptible to decay. The fluoride strengthens the teeth to help reduce cavities.
Have receding gums and sensitivity: fluoride is absorbed into the tooth making it stronger and harded, this in turn reduces sensitivity present on areas of the root which have become exposed because of recession.
Want to protect your teeth from recurrent decay: fluoride acts like a shield around the tooth to prevent bacteria from damaging the enamel.
Have received radiation treatment to your head or neck: this can lead to you producing less saliva which increase your risk of dental decay.
Have a history of decay: fluoride can help reduce your incidence of decay
Have orthodontic appliances: its always harder to clean teeth with braces on, bacteria likes to hang out around the wires and brackets, fluoride helps neutralize some of the bacteria thereby decreasing your chance of getting a cavity!
Have poor oral hygiene: if your homecare is not yet at the “gold standard” fluoride can slow down the negative effect of having the plaques and debris on your teeth.
Oh! And I nearly forgot…you don’t become immune to the awesome benefits of fluoride just because you have a few more candles on your birthday cake….it benefits us at all ages and stages!
And…. The 64 million dollar question: does my insurance cover it????…..after hearing what it does, is that even a worthwhile question??? (and no…it doesn’t cost 64 million dollars $$$)
So, next time the hygienist recommends the funny tasting paste for your teeth, don’t think twice!! Its just what the doctor ordered!!!
Happy dentisting everyone! If you have any questions about this topic, my staff and I would be more than happy to talk to you about it. Just give us a call at the office – 610-446-4225, or just grab one of us at your next appointment. – Dr. M