Fluoride functions as a naturally occurring mineral that attracts other minerals to strengthen tooth enamel and deter cavity-causing bacteria. Adults and children can greatly benefit from professional fluoride rinses with your hygiene routine visit. This type of treatment involves the application of fluoride to the teeth in order to protect them. It’s common for all children under the age of 15, as their teeth are still developing and this procedure is designed to ensure they remain healthy during the growth process. For adults, fluoride treatment can be used to repair teeth that have already been damaged, and this is done through fluorapatite, which is applied to tooth enamel that has been damaged.
As a general recommendation, your doctor may provide you with the option to receive dental fluoride and supplements during a routine checkup. We recommend fluoride for all patients and sealants to prevent tooth decay as part of your preventative care.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been proven to strengthen teeth and prevent the incidence of tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride treatment for children as soon as teeth emerge. This simple preventive measure of applying a fluoride varnish to a child’s first teeth can strengthen teeth at risk for decay and create a tooth surface that is more resistant to decay.
Applying a fluoride varnish protects a child’s primary (first) teeth from decay. Fluoride is applied twice a year from ages one to six or seven when the child gets their permanent teeth. Fluoride varnish works by repairing gaps in the tooth enamel, protecting teeth from plaque forming bacteria that likes to colonize in small pits and gaps.
Fluoride is easily applied to teeth. It dries almost immediately upon contact with clean dry teeth and will not be removed by saliva. The procedure is quick, painless, and often included in dental insurance coverage, but you will want to check with your provider to be certain.
What is a Sealant?
A sealant functions as a barrier when the grooves in permanent molars are sealed. Once the molars are sealed, it can protect against sugars and starches that may cause tooth decay, especially at a young age. Sealants greatly reduce the risk of cavities on those hard to clean areas towards the back teeth. It is important to check and replace the sealant, as they do wear off over time. Research confirms a 90% reduction in detecting chewing surface cavity activity in sealed molars. This cost-effective step may help your child enter adulthood with fewer fillings and less risk of unforeseen dentistry in the future.
Sealants are generally used to help prevent tooth decay on the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars). The natural grooves of these teeth can trap food that can resist casual brushing and rinsing. If left in place, the trapped food allows bacteria to multiply, eventually causing tooth decay and requiring costly attention.
Sealants are painted directly onto the tooth where they seal the natural grooves to help prevent tooth decay. While sealants are durable, they are not permanent. They can last up to 5 years of normal wear before needing replacement.
Sealants offer a cost-effective, preventative step to reduce the chances of tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars. However, they do not replace the need for regular brushing and flossing.