How Fluoride is Used in General Dentistry

How Fluoride is Used in General Dentistry from Allure Dental of Hollywood in Hollywood, FLThe goal of general dentistry can be expressed as treating tooth decay and oral health issues if necessary and preventing them if possible. One of the most effective tools that dentists use in the prevention of tooth decay is fluoride.

How does fluoride work to prevent tooth decay?

The enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth. It consists of minerals that combine to give it its hardness and durability. Exposure to acids weakens enamel in a process called demineralization, causing it to become soft. Along with phosphate and calcium, fluoride is one of several minerals that helps to build tooth enamel back up in a process called remineralization.

By strengthening tooth enamel, fluoride use in general dentistry helps to reverse the effects of acid and prevent tooth decay from occurring. If tooth decay is in its early stages, fluoride may actually be able to reverse it. It cannot reverse tooth decay that is more advanced, but it does help prevent new cavities from forming.

What forms does fluoride take?

Because of its cavity-fighting capability, fluoride is an ingredient in many of the oral hygiene products intended for home use, especially mouthwash and toothpaste. Look for the seal of the American Dental Association on these products; the ADA has tested them and verified that they contain an adequate level of fluoride for the prevention of tooth decay. Fluoride supplements are also available by prescription for people who are deficient in the mineral. These are available as either tablets or a liquid.

If you live in a city, your municipal water supply may have fluoride added to it in the interest of promoting public health by reducing tooth decay. However, not all cities fluoridate their water. If you drink bottled water or get your water from a private well, you do not receive the benefits of fluoridation.

Fluoride treatments are frequently used as a preventive measure in general dentistry. They come in three different forms, each with a higher concentration of the mineral than what you find in over-the-counter oral hygiene products.

Foam

Fluoride foam comes in several different flavors, and the dentist will probably offer you a choice. The dentist places it into trays in the shape of your jaws, one for the top teeth and one for the bottom. You bite down on the trays for one to four minutes, during which time your teeth absorb the fluoride and start the remineralization process.

Varnish

Fluoride varnish is painted onto the teeth. It, too, comes in different flavors. Once it is applied, it can stay on your teeth for several hours, during which time it keeps supplying fluoride to the enamel of your teeth.

Gel

Gel is the most versatile fluoride option. It can be either painted onto your teeth like a varnish or applied with trays that you bite down on like a foam.

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Conclusion

Fluoride is valuable to general dentistry because it helps to prevent tooth decay through the process of remineralization, which strengthens the enamel after exposure to acid.

Request an appointment or call Allure Dental of Hollywood at 954-514-9749 for an appointment in our Hollywood office.

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