Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which is found universally throughout nature in water, soil, air and food. The benefits of fluoride are well known and supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride is easily absorbed into tooth enamel, especially in children’s growing teeth. Once teeth are developed, fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes the natural repair or remineralization of early decay before the damage is even visible. In the United States most of the fluoride ingested into the body comes from systemic fluoride added to public and private water supplies.
In-office Topical Fluoride Treatments:
People of all ages can benefit from professionally administered, prescription strength topical fluoride varnishes as applied in my practice. The topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by penetrating into the outer surface of the tooth enamel which makes teeth more resistant to decay. My practice relies on topical fluoride varnishes rather than the old fashioned gels or foams. Studies have shown that the varnish penetrates deeper, longer, and at a substantially higher concentration than gels or foams. Many dental offices don’t use it because it’s more expensive and can be more difficult to properly apply.
At-home Custom Topical Fluoride Trays:
I aggressively treat dental decay in my practice. A technique I have been using to treat my patients with a high decay rate, certain health conditions, and patients undergoing cancer treatments are custom made trays for delivering prescription strength fluoride gels. For these high risk patients we obtain impressions of the upper and lower teeth that allows my laboratory to custom fabricate trays designed to go over the teeth and specifically deliver the fluoride gel to the areas of the teeth most at risk. The patient is then instructed on how to apply the gel and at what frequency in order to supplement my ongoing care at home.