Tooth decay is one of the most common dental issues people face worldwide. However, there is a way to deal with it.
At Pacific Ave. Dental, our specialists Dr. Hablutzel and recommend fluoride treatments as an effective intervention against the condition. Like many other treatments, this one may not be right for everyone.
What Is Fluoride?
As a naturally occurring mineral, fluoride helps prevent cavities and build strong teeth. In fact, it is also referred to as "nature's cavity fighter." While most water contains some fluoride, it may not be enough to prevent the issue of tooth decay and thus tooth extractions from decay.
What Does Fluoride Treatment Do?
Most people's mouths are prone to harboring bacteria for a long time. This results in plaque build-up, which causes the release of acid, making you lose minerals. What you experience as a result is tooth decay.
As the name suggests, fluoride treatment is a professional treatment with a high concentration to improve your dental health. Your dentist may use foam, gel, or varnish to reduce the risk of cavities and offer a faster solution.
While these treatments can be done at home, your dentist may recommend against them. Only under the right supervision and care can you reap the best results from it.
Essentially, fluoride fights bacteria and supports healthy tooth enamel so you can keep your gums and teeth from getting harmed. Fluoride is also helpful if you have an elevated risk of developing cavities or dental caries.
While the one dentists use is similar to the fluoride in toothpaste, professional treatment is much more effective and offers rapid benefits.
Is Fluoride Treatment Worth It?
Many people assume that fluoride treatments are only for children. However, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Adults who are at high risk for cavities can greatly benefit from it.
A diet high in acidic beverages and food items can lead to gum recession and sensitive teeth. Fluoride can reduce that sensitivity by re-mineralizing tooth enamel.
Patients who receive radiation therapy for cancer are at great risk of damaged saliva glands. The lesser the saliva production, the greater the chance of cavities, which makes fluoride treatments necessary.
There are many circumstances that warrant fluoride protection for adults. Certain medications can also create a dry mouth and elevate the risk of cavities. Hence, fluoride treatment is indeed worth it.
Do Fluoride Treatments Work?
Fluoride treatments aren't a magical intervention and won't immediately undo the damage that has already been inflicted on your teeth. These treatments cannot remove decay completely. However, they can create a stronger surface for your teeth, so the decay doesn't go deeper.
Generally, fluoride is beneficial for both adults and children. The earlier you expose a child to it, the lesser the chances of them developing cavities. However, the outcome also depends on how severe the damage is.
Is Fluoride Treatment Safe?
These treatments are usually safe. The only time they may be unsafe is if a patient is allergic to fluoride. Again, the chances of that happening are quite rare.
Some people also believe that fluoridated water might be harmful, but that is not true. It isn't to say that there are no risks associated with the procedure of fluoride treatment. People can experience tooth discoloration, but like most other reactions, it's also rare.
Nonetheless, it's important to be aware of the possible side effects. Using too much fluoride can cause pitting and staining on teeth, denser bones, and issues with bone homeostasis. Overdose of fluoride supplements can also result in excessive sweating, tiredness, diarrhea, and nausea.
Can I Eat After Fluoride Treatment?
If you've just undergone a fluoride treatment, you may wonder whether it is the right time to eat or drink something. As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid exposing your teeth to anything right after any dental treatment.
This is because your teeth and gums are extremely sensitive following a fluoride treatment. Unnecessary exposure could cause pain, bleeding, and discomfort. It may also extend your recovery time and reverse the benefits.
You also do not want to brush or floss right away. Allow the fluoride from the treatment to settle in. Carefully follow your dentist's aftercare instructions for at least a few hours before you resume your usual habits again.
How Long After Fluoride Treatment Can I Eat?
Your dentist may recommend waiting for at least 30 minutes before you can eat or drink something after treatment.
Even though the general duration you should wait for is 30 minutes, your dentist might recommend waiting for a few hours before you can resume your activities again. During this time, your fluoride treatment is able to seal the teeth properly.
Once you're ready to eat something, make sure not to expose your gums to something that may damage them.
Your teeth and gums are extra sensitive following the treatment, so you want to avoid having extremely hot or cold food items. You may also want to avoid food items or fruits high in acidities, such as lemons, grapefruits, and oranges.
Stay away from spicy and crunchy dishes and sugary drinks, and frozen food items for a while. Again, the waiting period can depend on the treatment you received and the damage your teeth endured. Only your dentist can guide you best and give relevant aftercare instructions.
Questions? Call and Schedule Today!
Understanding how fluoride treatment works is imperative if you also deal with tooth decay. However, not every case of tooth decay can benefit from the procedure. There are several other factors to consider, such as medical history and other possible tooth and gum diseases. Contact (360) 373-3515 today with any questions you may have on fluoride treatment.