You already know that brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings are smart ways to remove plaque and tartar. By taking these steps to keep your teeth and gums clean, you’re helping to reduce the odds of developing cavities. Great work!
But you can do even more to protect your pearly whites. Go beyond brushing with fluoride toothpaste by talking to your dentist about fluoride treatments and the benefits that they can provide.
What are fluoride treatments, and why might you need one? Check out the information below to learn more, but also be sure to chat with your dentist to find out if this option would really be right for you.
Would You Benefit from a Fluoride Treatment?
When you see your dentist for a checkup, they might be able to determine your level of risk when it comes to cavities. If you have a high or moderate risk of cavities developing, a professional fluoride treatment might be a great preventive measure to take—in addition to following a strict oral hygiene routine at home, of course.
Some factors that may indicate you’re the right type of patient for a fluoride treatment. These include:
- Weakened enamel, enamel defects, or exposed root surfaces
- Dry mouth
- High amounts of bacteria that can cause cavities
- Poor oral hygiene
- Poor diet
How Does It Work?
You might be wondering why you would need to receive a fluoride treatment in the dentist’s chair if you’re already using toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride. Well, it’s simple: the fluoride that’s used by your dentist will be more highly concentrated, making it even stronger than what you’re getting daily at home through brushing and rinsing.
If your dentist notices the early signs of tooth decay—when you don’t yet have a cavity that requires drilling and filling—treatment that applies strong fluoride directly to a tooth might help prevent the decay from progressing, and might even reverse it! And, in children, fluoride treatments may help prevent decay in those adorable baby teeth, too.
Basically, the fluoride gets to work on rebuilding your enamel. It can do that by helping the teeth absorb calcium and phosphate from your saliva. Fluoride might also get in the way of bacteria that could lead to cavities, making it harder for that bacteria to stick to your teeth and do damage.
What to Expect When Getting a Fluoride Treatment
Along with helping prevent cavities, the best part about fluoride treatments is that it’s painless and simple – the treatment only takes a few minutes to complete!
Here’s how easy it is: your dentist will apply the fluoride, which could be in the form of a gel, a rinse, a foam, or a varnish. They might use a brush, cotton swab, or tray to carefully apply the fluoride to your teeth.
After the fluoride is applied, you might be told that you aren’t allowed to drink or eat anything for a certain amount of time, typically about a half-hour, so the solution can get to work strengthening your teeth.
How often do you need to get a fluoride treatment? The answer depends on various factors, and your dentist will decide what’s right for you. Some people might need a fluoride treatment once a year, while others might need one every few months.
Fluoride Treatments: Painless, Fast, and Worth Talking to Your Dentist About
Overall, fluoride treatments may be an option if you’re at a higher risk of getting cavities, as this simple, painless, and quick treatment might help you avoid the dentist’s drill. Who wouldn’t want that?!
If you think that you could benefit from a fluoride treatment, talk to your dentist. And, remember, if you have the right dental insurance, like one of the high-quality plans on the Direct Benefits Marketplace, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to receive the oral health treatments you need without breaking the bank in the process.