Topical fluoride varnish applied by a dental professional provides extra protection against tooth decay. For maximum benefit, varnish is usually applied following a regular preventive cleaning or deep cleaning.
Scientific studies have found that fluoride varnish provides additional defense to teeth against decay especially when used in addition to frequently brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste.
Is fluoride effective against tooth decay and cavities?
Fluoride is important for your teeth. It helps your teeth fight decay and cavities by preventing the conversion of dietary sugars into acids by bacteria found in plaque.
If there is enough fluoride present in your saliva, it can improve the balance between demineralisation and remineralisation in your mouth. The plaque bacteria converts dietary sugars into acids and favors demineralization.
Due to the presence of fluoride, the demineralisation process results in stronger mineral crystals. These crystals can survive even if there is an acid attack.
- Stops demineralisation
- Fights against decay
- Helps your teeth against an acid attack caused by plaque bacteria
- Improves tooth surface and makes it less soluble
- Discourages bacterial metabolism
How fluoride varnish works
A very small amount is applied to the tooth surfaces with a brush. It is quick and painless, and the varnish is pleasantly flavored. The quick-drying formula stays on the teeth for several hours.
The fluoride varnish will help re-mineralize the teeth. The treatment can prevent future cavities as well as reverse the damage caused by incipient microcavities.
An incipient cavity is the small early formation of a cavity on the outer layer of enamel. When these are seen on a dental x-ray, your dentist may recommend fluoride varnish treatment to try to reverse the damage.
Because of the small amount used and the rapid setting time, only a negligible amount is likely to be ingested. Patients are advised to avoid hot foods and most liquids for 4-6 hours after treatment. Soft, warm foods and water may be consumed. A small percentage of patients may experience some nausea after eating within the first 24 hours after treatment.
Don’t misunderstand fluoride varnish
Fluoride Varnish is a highly concentrated form of fluoride applied topically. It is the number one fluoride treatment recommended for children and anyone who is prone to tooth decay.
Not a substitute for fluoridated water
Fluoride varnish is not a substitute for the systemic fluoride delivered by fluoridated water. Dentists often recommend that those who live in areas where water is not fluoridated take a low-dose pill.
Not a substitute for good oral hygiene
Topical fluoride treatments are not a substitute for good daily oral hygiene, including brushing after meals and flossing daily.
Does my insurance cover fluoride varnish?
Some insurance plans cover fluoride varnish, while others do not. Check with your plan or our staff about your insurance coverage.
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