Should My Child Get Topical Fluoride Treatments?

If you bring your child to the dentist regularly, you may already be familiar with topical fluoride treatments.  Sometimes we call these “professional fluoride treatments” or “fluoride varnish”.  These preventive applications provide valuable benefits for the teeth, and they can help your child maintain healthy teeth for many years.

What is Topical Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in the ground.  It is present in some natural drinking water (due to its presence in the ground), and it is an addition to most municipal water sources. Scientists and dentists have recognized the wonderful preventive effects of fluoride for the teeth for many decades.

Fluoride is available in most over-the-counter toothpastes and many mouthwashes.  These are both forms of topical fluoride because they reach the enamel and dentin of teeth by direct contact.  This contrasts with systemic fluoride, which reaches the teeth during their formation through the ingestion of drinking water containing fluoride.

Topical fluoride treatments in the dental office are slightly different than the topical fluoride in over-the-counter products.  Like most prescription-strength produces, it has a higher concentration of the active ingredient and provides a greater effect on the enamel.

What does a Topical Fluoride Treatment Do for the Teeth?

Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and its underlying structure, dentin, is not bar behind in hardness.  These hard tissues are both at risk for erosion and decay from the presence of acid.  This process involves a removal of the hard minerals from the teeth (demineralization).  We can add minerals back into the tooth through the process of remineralization.  So far, fluoride is our most successful and widely available remineralizing agent.

Fluoride strengthens and hardens teeth through the remineralization process.  This helps you fight cavities and acid erosion.  It also combats teeth sensitivity.

Fluoride has an inhibitory effect on dental plaque, which reduces the risk for both cavities and gingivitis. 

Are Topical Fluoride Treatments Safe?

Yes!

The reason for this question is the concern over the potential for fluoride toxicity.  While it is possible to receive too much fluoride, the levels in dental products and drink water are closely regulated, making toxic levels impossible with proper use. 

If a small child ate an entire tube of high-fluoride toothpaste, there is reason for concern.  Under proper use and supervision, there is no reason to worry about fluoride toxicity.

How Much do Topical Fluoride Treatments Cost?

If you have dental insurance, your benefits typically cover topical fluoride treatments at 100% for children.  This shows how valuable these treatments are at preventing tooth decay.  They actually save your insurance company money!

For those of you without dental insurance coverage, we charge only $20, which is far less than the cost of a single filling. Considering the fact that topical fluoride treatments can prevent a multitude of cavities, your savings are exponential! 

More Questions about Topical Fluoride?

Call Prosper Family Dentistry today at 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara or Dr. Summer.  They can answer any question you have about fluoride and its applications for your child’s oral health. 

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