Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in food, water, and other products that plays a crucial role in maintaining the strength and health of your teeth. It works to prevent cavities by strengthening the enamel layer which prevents bacteria and acids from penetrating the teeth. A fluoride treatment is a highly concentrated form of fluoride that is applied to the teeth to protect them from cavities.
Fluoride helps you better absorb other minerals that are critical to tooth health like calcium and phosphate.
Dr. Schmidt will first perform an oral exam to take a look at the condition of your teeth. If we notice any abnormalities, x-rays may be necessary.
X-rays can reveal hidden tooth decay or other oral health problems that require treatment.
We will then perform a dental cleaning so we have a clean surface to apply the fluoride. This involves removing plaque and tartar buildup with a scaler as well as brushing and flossing the teeth.
A fluoride gel is painted onto the teeth and then spit out within just a few minutes.
Fluoride is a necessary mineral for the health and strength of your tooth enamel. The presence of fluoride in your teeth attracts calcium and phosphate and together they form a strong shield against cavity-causing plaque and acids.
Fluoride prevents enamel erosion, which prevents tooth sensitivity and damage to your enamel. Not only do fluoride treatments prevent cavities, but they can also reverse tooth decay in the early stages.
By getting a fluoride treatment, you greatly reduce your risk of developing cavities which save you money and time on invasive restorative procedures like root canals or extractions. It is especially useful in protecting vulnerable baby teeth, which have a higher risk of tooth decay. This is another tool to add to their oral health care arsenal, as baby teeth are very important.
Fluoride varnish is typically applied twice a year at the end of your regular checkup and dental cleaning. However, some younger children and patients with certain medical conditions who are at a higher risk of tooth decay may need more frequent fluoride treatments. It is safe to get one as often as once every 3 months.
You should wait at least 30 minutes after your fluoride treatment to eat, drink, or rinse your mouth. After that, you can return to your normal activities. This helps the fluoride absorb into your teeth so you get the full benefits of the fluoride varnish.
A fluoride treatment is meant to keep your teeth healthy and resistant to cavities until your next dental cleaning.
Professional teeth whitening that is overseen and administered by a qualified dentist will never damage your teeth. Your dentist will ensure that you get the proper whitening products and that you do not over whiten your teeth.
However, it is possible to damage the teeth by over whitening them. The peroxide-based whiteners used in the teeth whitening process can weaken the teeth and damage the enamel if they are not used properly, or are used too frequently.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening kits from sources like Amazon and other websites, which could contain dangerously-high levels of peroxide.
If you do not want to pay for professional teeth whitening services from your dentist, make sure you only use ADA-approved whitening products like Crest Whitestrips. ADA-approved products have relatively low concentrations of peroxide, so the risk of enamel damage from over-whitening is much lower.
There are two categories of teeth whitening products that actually work.
The first are abrasive whiteners, such as toothpaste that contains baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and other very mild abrasives. These abrasives work similarly to sandpaper, rubbing plaque and surface stains away from your teeth. These abrasive whiteners work on minor stains, but the abrasive is not strong enough to damage enamel.
It is recommended that you avoid charcoal toothpaste, which has abrasives that may be hard enough to damage your enamel with frequent use. Stick to an ADA-approved whitening toothpaste product.
The second category of teeth whitening products that actually work are chemical whiteners that contain peroxide. These are available both from dentists and over-the-counter, but it’s best to work with a dentist to get your desired results, and ensure that your teeth are not damaged by over whitening.
To explore your options in further detail and make sure you choose a safe, effective teeth whitening product, get in touch with your dentist for a consult.
The precise reason that whitening causes sensitivity is not fully known, but the leading theory is that it’s due to “dentinal microtubules.” These extremely small, microscopic channels in our teeth connect the exterior of the tooth enamel to the interior nerve, allowing us to feel sensations in our teeth.
The theory is that, since peroxide-based whiteners weaken the enamel very slightly, this exposes the microtubules, which become much more sensitive. Then, as the enamel remineralizes and becomes stronger after the whitening process is over, they are sealed up again, and no longer feel overly sensitive. This would explain why the sensitivity caused by teeth whitening typically only lasts for a few days.