What Does a Fluoride Treatment Look Like?
Fluoride treatments fall within the category of essential dental treatments that are highly beneficial for both children and adults. No wonder because fluoride is a mineral responsible for building strong tooth enamel. And stronger the enamel, the better our chances at keeping various oral health issues in check, including cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
While there are things we can do at home to ensure our daily fluoride intake is optimal, such as drinking recommended amounts of fluoridated water, taking fluoride supplements, and opting for fluoride toothpaste, a professional fluoride treatment is something that can only be done at a dental office.
That said, let’s look at what typical fluoride treatment dentists provide looks like so that we can better prepare for our next dental appointment.
What is Fluoride?
An element that is typically present in nature, including soil, air, and water, fluoride is a mineral that naturally supports and strengthens tooth enamel, reducing the number of harmful bacteria that usually thrive on sugary foods in our mouth. The most common byproduct of that bacterial metabolic activity is acid, which forms a thin yellowish film or plaque that can erode tooth enamel, affecting the health of our gums and putting us at high risk for getting cavities and periodontal disease. However, if we use the recommended amounts of fluoridated water and toothpaste (systemic intake), and schedule fluoride treatments as per our dentist’s suggestion (topical intake), we can significantly reduce our chances of getting cavities.
Why Fluoride in Toothpaste or Water is Not Enough?
There’s no denying that the best dental prevention starts with brushing, flossing, and taking care of your diet and water intake. But, if you belong to an especially vulnerable group, you’re bound to pay a visit to your dentist’s office sooner rather than later.
Sure, brushing and flossing properly and making sure we do it twice a day for at least two minutes is paramount, but if your dentist determines that you’re at higher risk of developing caries or gum disease, they might recommend that you get a fluoride treatment every so often.
The American Dental Association recommends using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste each time we brush and making sure we’re drinking enough fluoridated water, so this is general advice everyone should follow. But the ADA also suggests getting professional fluoride treatments every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on our own risk of getting cavities because typical over-the-counter fluoride products sometimes can’t provide us with all the necessary protection.
What is a Fluoride Treatment?
As the name itself suggests, a fluoride treatment is a preventive dental treatment that includes applying a concentrated amount of fluoride to a tooth, or more teeth at once, to provide additional protection to children and adults in case their dentist thinks they might be at more risk of developing cavities or gum disease.
What Does It Look Like?
There are several possibilities when it comes to applying fluoride treatments, and the dentist usually picks the option that would be best for you, depending on your previous medical history and other relevant circumstances. That said, they can decide to administer a professional fluoride rinse, gel, foam, or varnish. Depending on that, they will offer you a mouthwash, apply treatment with a cotton swab, use a specially designed mouth tray or paint it on your tooth with a brush. The treatment is completely painless and lasts a couple of minutes. After that, they will probably advise you not to eat or drink for the next half an hour or so, for fluoride to fully absorb. After that, you will be able to resume your usual activities.
What Dental Insurance Covers Fluoride Treatments?
The great thing about fluoride treatments is that they are available to pretty much everyone in terms of costs. The majority of children’s dental insurance plans will offer full coverage for this type of service with no waiting period, which is amazing news for low-income families and the ones with limited dental insurance options.
With a considerable number of children and adults from various age groups that are affected by cavities and other forms of tooth decay, getting a fluoride treatment can prove to be essential for preventing many dental health issues and avoiding costly dental procedures in the future. Moreover, this treatment is usually covered by a majority of dental insurance or plans and is a great investment in your dental health. The great thing about it is that it’s typically painless, lasts for a few minutes and you can return to your everyday activities shortly after the treatment.
Have you considered getting a fluoride treatment for yourself or your child? If the answer is yes, do you think it’s worth the investment? Tell us all about your experience in the comment section below!