Is a Fluoride Treatment Safe?
Fluoride treatments are a common dental procedure in which a dentist or hygienist applies a high concentration of fluoride to a patient’s teeth. They do this to strengthen teeth prone to decay to help prevent cavities.
While there are many benefits to fluoride treatments, it may not be ideal for all dental patients. At O’Connor Dental Care, we want you to have all the information necessary so you can make the best decisions regarding the oral health of you and your family members.
If you’ve been wondering if fluoride treatments are safe, read on. We’ll tell you all about them and what you can expect if you undergo treatment.
What are fluoride treatments?
When having a fluoride treatment, your dental care provider coats targeted teeth with a concentrated dose of fluoride as a gel, foam, varnish or solution. It’s like the fluoride used in toothpaste, although it contains much higher fluoride levels and offers faster benefits.
It is a very simple way to reduce the risk of cavities and to improve the health of the teeth. Fluoride treatments are also completely painless unless you have tooth decay or cavities already. But this is something your dentist will check for beforehand and notify you about to prepare you.
Our dentists may also prescribe fluoride supplements as tablets or liquids so you can continue the treatment at home.
What are the benefits of fluoride treatments?
There are many benefits to undergoing a fluoride treatment. They include:
- Reducing cavities by eliminating bacteria that cause decay.
- It strengthens the enamel of developing teeth, making them better resistant to decay for their lifespan.
- It helps your teeth better absorb minerals like calcium and phosphate, which repair decrepit enamel and prevent future weakening.
- It is affordable and can delay the need for pricier dental work.
- It can prevent gum disease and premature tooth loss.
- These treatments can also help maintain baby teeth.
As you can see, there are many oral health benefits associated with fluoride treatments. Be sure to discuss with your dentist the benefits you can expect for your particular dental needs.
What are the risks of fluoride treatments?
Fluoride treatments are generally a completely safe procedure. The only time they’re unsafe is if a patient has an allergic reaction to the fluoride, although this is extremely rare.
Some people believe that fluoride, and fluoridated water, pose harm to the public. This is an exaggeration. The most common risks people experience after fluoride treatment are tooth discoloration, although, like allergic reactions, this is extremely rare and does not occur under normal circumstances.
When you get a fluoride treatment at your dentist’s office, remember that your dentist and hygienist are fully trained in the procedure. They know how much to use and the format best for your age and dental needs.
Who needs fluoride treatments?
Fluoride treatments are effective in children and adults. They’re most commonly recommended in adults with worn tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel serves to protect your tooth, roots, and gums. Acidic foods, bacterial buildup, and poor dental care habits may deplete your enamel over time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children receive fluoride treatments even before their teeth fully grow in. This is because it can prevent decay, infections, pain and future dental issues.
It’s difficult to help our children care for their teeth like they need to when they’re young. But having your dentist brush a fluoride varnish onto their developing teeth is simple, quick, and painless, so most kids won’t mind getting the treatment. It’s also a smart way to set your children on the path to a lifetime of excellent oral care.
Depending on your child’s specific cavity risk, your dentist may recommend repeating fluoride treatments every 3-6 months.
Adults may also benefit from receiving fluoride treatments, and your dentist will likely recommend a course of treatment if you’re at high risk of tooth decay. Some adults repeat their treatments twice a year on average.
Children are the most common recipients of fluoride treatments, while adults with only a mild risk of tooth decay likely need not consider getting this preventative treatment.
Both the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people of all ages have daily exposure to fluoride to fight cavities. Those at average risk for tooth decay can generally get enough by drinking and rinsing with tap water and brushing with fluoridated toothpaste.
But children and adults at high risk for developing tooth decay will likely benefit from having fluoride treatments.
Can O’Connor Dental Care provide fluoride treatments?
Absolutely! Fluoride treatments are one of the most common preventative dental procedures we provide at our dental clinic.
Whether you’re interested in fluoride treatments for yourself or your children, Dr. Emily can decide if treatments will benefit you, as well as the amount and type of fluoride treatment necessary.