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Frequently Asked Questions About Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride Coating on Child

Your child brushes, flosses, and visits the dentist twice a year for check-ups and professional-strength cleanings. With all this preventative maintenance, your child couldn't possibly need anything else — right? Actually, some additional options are available. These options can protect your child's smile and help them maintain the best oral health possible. One of these options is a fluoride treatment.

Does your child really need fluoride in addition to what they already get through toothpaste and other dental products? Before you decide to skip the fluoride to save time or money, read on to learn more about fluoride. This guide answers some of the top questions and may give you a reason to choose this preventative treatment.

What's the Difference Between the Dentist's Fluoride and Regular Toothpaste?

Many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash products contain fluoride and work to prevent plaque build-up. While these products can help your child to get rid of cavity-causing bacteria, they don't come in the same strengths that a dentist's office treatment does.

In other words, the concentration of fluoride that your child will get during their office visit is much higher than the concentration of fluoride in a regular over the counter toothpaste.

Isn't Fluoride Free in Tap Water?

The free tap water that you and your child drink is fluoridated — meaning that fluoride is added to it in the water treatment process. Municipalities, townships, cities, and other local governments have been adding fluoride to the water for almost half a century.

Research shows that not only is fluoridated water safe, but it also reduces tooth decay by up to 25 percent, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

Even though fluoridated water is a top source of fluoride, with the growing popularity of bottled water and bottled drinking products, chances are that your child just isn't getting enough. If your child rarely or consumes tap water from a public drinking source (well water is not fluoridated), then an in-office treatment may be necessary and beneficial for your child.

Is the Treatment Painful or Stressful?

Some children just don't do well at the dentist. They're nervous, they worry about the pain, and they protest when it comes to any type of treatment. If your child falls into this category, then they have no reason to worry about a fluoride treatment.

Unlike invasive procedures that may involve the use of injections or drills, a fluoride treatment is nothing more than a swab or tray filled with gel or foam. Your child will hold the gel on their teeth for a few minutes and that's it.

Does Fluoride Really Work?

Yes, fluoride can strengthen your child's teeth and reduce the number of oral bacteria. This increases your child's resistance to dental decay.

Like many other dental or medical interventions, your child will need to continue getting fluoride treatments to see the benefits. One treatment is simply not enough. Some children can get benefits from a once-yearly treatment, while others may need fluoride treatments twice a year.

The number of times that your child needs an in-office treatment depends on their dental health, the number of dental issues they have, and how well they care for their mouth at home.

Can Adults Have Fluoride Treatments Too?

If you feel that you don't get enough fluoride, have a high number of cavities, have persistent dental decay, or want an added layer of protection, then you can also benefit from this treatment. Children and adults can take advantage of the benefits of fluoride.

Does your family need a dentist that provides this preventative treatment? Contact our team at Dr. Jeffrey S. Mika, D.D.S. to set up an appointment or for more information.