Explaining Dental Fluoride Treatments
Dental health is important. We need to protect our teeth as much as possible to give our teeth the best possible chance to last a lifetime. By ensuring that the teeth are taken care of, you are actually making an investment that can result in long-term reward as preventative care will save patients money on costly restorative treatments.
To protect teeth, certain types of treatment approaches and procedures must be applied at different times. The experienced dental care team at Stetson Hills Dental is happy to discuss these treatments with you, including fluoride treatments. These treatments are beneficial to for teeth for a variety of reasons.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride can be found in many places as it is a naturally occurring mineral. We consume it in some of the food and water we eat. Fluoride helps strengthen enamel and provides protection against decay and sensitivity.
How Does Fluoride Help My Teeth?
Fluoride plays a large role in oral health. Tooth decay and dental enamel attrition occurs as a result of loss of minerals (demineralization) on the surface of the teeth. This occurs when there is too much acid in the mouth or when the enamel layer becomes so thin that the underlying softer dentin of the tooth is exposed. When this happens, teeth can become sensitive when exposed to cold or heat or sugary food and drink.
It is not impossible to grow more enamel once it’s been lost, but enamel can be strengthened or “remineralized” by the minerals we eat and apply directly to the teeth. This process occurs in several different ways. One is to actually apply the minerals to the teeth through brushing with a fluoride toothpaste or rinsing with a mouthwash that contains fluoride. But for fluoride to be effective, sufficient calcium, phosphorous and other minerals also need to be in the body.
Is Fluoride Good for More than Just Remineralization?
Fluoride is great for remineralization, but, it’s not the only benefit. Fluoride treatments have also been known to be effective in reversing early tooth decay. It can also help teeth become more acid resistant by combatting the cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. This allows for less damage and decay, but also helps maintain tooth structure over time. It, then, can act as a preventative measure to protect other oral structures from problems in the future.
Those who want to protect their teeth and stave off wear and tear that occurs naturally over time need to understand the value of fluoride treatment. Even if decay or damage has not begun, fluoride can help minimize the chances of it occurring in the future.
How Is Fluoride Applied to the Teeth?
The most common way fluoride is applied to teeth is by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. You will see many different products on the market today that have fluoride in them. This is great at providing a variety of options so you can take care of your teeth wherever and whenever you need to. Of course, these applications may not have the same amount of fluoride as the products used at Stetson Hills Dental, but they can still help strengthen your teeth in between checkups and can provide some protection over time.
The other way fluoride can be applied is in the dental chair. Your dentist or hygienist will fill a tray or mouth guard-like contraption with a fluoride gel. As the patient bites down on this tray, the fluoride covers the teeth. The tray is left in for a few minutes so teeth can get the full benefit of the fluoride. This procedure may not take place at every dental appointment or cleaning, but it is recommended when teeth start to show decay or when the patient comes in for their bi-annual checkup.
If you would like a fluoride treatment or are interested in learning more about it and the benefits of fluoride, we are here to help. Our team at Stetson Hills Dental wants to help you. Visit us online at StetsonHillsDentist.com or call our office (719) 694-0400. We are here to help!