Fluoride is commonly used by dental professionals to prevent or reduce dental caries. For many years dental professionals applied fluoride gels, foams and varnish using disposable mouth tray. This procedure uses these types of fluoride because it was both convenient to use and patients tolerate it well. However, among these professional fluoride solutions, fluoride varnish comes highly recommended by both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association (ADA) and for several reasons, it shall be mention in detail later on.
According to the Clinical Practice Guidelines posted by the ADA Council, they mentioned how their recommended topical fluoride for caries prevention includes the use of 2.26 percent sodium fluoride varnish. This is closely followed by 1.23 percent of fluoride gel over other types of fluoride. It’s true that there are non-fluoride caries preventive agents out there like fluoride supplements and toothpaste for younger children to name a few, however, as mentioned above fluoride varnish with sodium comes on the top of their list.
If dental professional organizations like these would vouch for fluoride varnish over other types of caries prevention methods this means varnish does more than just rescue patients who have reported cases of dentinal sensitivity. This simply varnish is viewed as a tooth hero. The solution here is to send fluoride varnish to the rescue where it is needed the most. Varnish wins the battle versus foams and gels before it even starts. If you want to see it for yourself you can request fluoride varnish samples
in many different websites.
What to Know About Fluoride
Fluoride is a natural mineral found within the earth. Fluoride is present in some foods like fish and also in the water supply. Fluoride has a lot of benefits for your teeth primarily this mineral protects you against tooth decay. Dental decay prevention includes both teeth that are still forming as well as those that have already formed inside the mouth. When teeth start to break down because of acid demineralization, fluoride comes to the rescue by strengthening your teeth. Tooth loss is prevented and enamel is made stronger to withstand the next acid attack.
The only and best way to prevent cavities from taking over your teeth is the use of fluoride. Fluoride protects your teeth by:
- Killing bacteria found within the dental plaque
- Effective in reducing the volume of plaque
- Decreases tooth sensitivity
- Slows down bacterial growth and colonization of your teeth and gums
What is a Fluoride Varnish for Teeth?
What exactly is this superhero wonder material made of and why the fuss over it? Fluoride varnish is a resin-based fluoride that contains 5 percent sodium fluoride. Varnish is painted directly to the tooth. Even the United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA approves the use of varnish as a treatment for dentinal sensitivity, as well as a cavity liner. One of the reasons why patients favor varnish for their teeth is its flavor and color.
There was a time when varnish was flavorless and it leaves behind a distinctive yellowish pigment on the tooth once the material dries up and hardens. The patient back then was embarrassed to smile when they leave the dental clinic. Even then patients withstand these setbacks and focus on the benefits of using this treatment. Application for varnish maybe lacking in the cosmetic factor department back then but, the benefits outweigh these.
The proper application calls for, leaving the fluoride varnish on the teeth for a number of hours. Most of the time it is the interproximal and cervical areas of the teeth that need this application the most. If in case you are a patient that will notice continued dentinal sensitivity, reapplication is recommended every six months after the first one. A major part of the population includes older patients; of which most suffer from dentinal sensitivity. Fluoride varnish provides the quickest non-invasive solution which patients are ready to accept.
Fluoride Varnish Uses
- It is Sticky and attaches to the teeth easily
- A protective coating painted on your teeth
- Prevents new cavities from forming
- Makes the outer layer of the teeth harder
- Helps stop cavities that about to start
- Protects the margin of the dental work where tooth decay usually begins to appear later on
- Reduces teeth sensitivity
Comparison of Topical Fluoride
There are short and long term effects of using varnish as compared to using the other two most commonly used topical fluorides such as foams and gels. In a one-week in vitro study conducted by the National Institutes of Health or NIH who is an agency and medical research center of the United States Health Department, it was found out that among the varnish, foam, and gel used on enamel slabs varnish wins. The result was based on the amount of demineralization found on the 500 microns enamel slab measured using the light reflected on the surfaces with these topical fluorides.
On the second week, the fluoride was removed to mimic the effects of the fluoride wears off after the teeth normally brushed. When the results came out, at first there was no difference between the use of varnish, foams, and gels. However, on closer inspection, long term effect goes to fluoride varnish because of its effect on both primary and permanent enamel. The varnish was beneficial for use with white spot lesions found on newly erupted permanent teeth and even on early decalcification in the primary tooth.
Today’s preventive measures for dental practice includes the ability to intervene in the demineralization process. This will allow the patient to experience better dental health without the need for restorative techniques. How’s that for a better solution for tooth decay instead of a long process that will take a lot of time. It is no longer a case of spending a lot of time and money to prevent tooth decay thanks to the convenience of using topical fluoride.
How is Topical Fluoride Varnish Applied?
- The dentist begins by cleaning your teeth especially the areas where he will place the varnish
- He will tell you to rinse your teeth and mouth with water
- Your dentist will remove the excess water and saliva
- He will use the fluoride varnish according to the manufacturer’s instruction for use
- He will generally choose unit dose dispensing
- The dentist starts to paint a thin layer approximately 0.5mm varnish directly on the teeth using a disposable applicator brush
- Varnish sets in a few seconds as it connects with your saliva
- This leaves behind a fluoride-rich layer near the surface of your teeth
- Your dentist will instruct you to avoid brushing and eating for at least two hours after the treatment
- You will be advised not to use a mouth wash that has fluoride for the remainder of the day
Technological Advancements in Dentistry
As technology continues to advance in the world of dentistry, clinicians deliver more effective treatment options for their patients. Dental manufacturers introduce new products to make life better for patients of all ages. Part of the reason why patients favor the use of varnish over foams and gels includes how easy it was to apply making the process of application quicker and more convenient.
However, using a multi-dose application is a challenge for dentists. This is because there is a need to estimate the correct amount needed while leaving some wasted. This does not happen for unit dose application because it is basically using just one application for the affected area.
Even so, technological advancements introduce fluoride varnish that dries up matching the patients’ teeth color. Imagine this, walking out of the dental clinic with that wide tooth smile all because all that is left behind are great tasting colors without the discoloration effect on the teeth.
The Bottom Line
How many of your patients will be happier with less tooth sensitivity and an equally less amount of tooth decay? For a long time foams and gels were considered to be the top choices when it comes to protecting your patient’s teeth. This was before fluoride varnish came into the picture. The world of dentistry was never the same again. The tooth hero arrives, just when the ease of swallowing was a general issue among young patients against the use of foams and gels.
Another main issue was, the application took time and was too messy to deal with both for the dentist and their patients. The result back then was to refrain from eating and drinking for a couple of hours after your dental appointment. Fluoride varnish is easy to apply on the teeth in just a few minutes. Patients were allowed to eat and drink even after an appointment. Life was easier and much better at least if you count yourself as among the patients who are suffering from tooth decay and similar dental issues.
By the way, the same ease is given even for infants who came in to have their first tooth consultation. There is no fear of swallowing the varnish, unlike foam and gel. With all of these advantages of using fluoride varnish, no wonder varnish wins over the other two contenders hands down. It sounds like fluoride varnish it is for the win.