At Knoxville Smiles at Malone & Costa Dentistry, we are proactive about helping patients maintain their oral health. Topical fluoride is a safe solution that your dentist can brush on your teeth directly following a dental cleaning. The regular application of fluoride after dental cleanings works to strengthen your tooth enamel to protect your teeth from decay and enamel erosion. Fluoride application is an affordable dental treatment that can prevent future dental issues down the line.
Did You Know?
Fluoride has been an important part of dentistry for the last 70 years. Upon its introduction, research found that the rate of tooth decay decreased among those who used fluoride. Nowadays, fluoride is an active ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash, and is also used by dentists for preventative dental care.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How does fluoride work?
At a molecular level, fluoride is a negatively charged ion attracted to ions with a positive charge. The two components of tooth enamel, calcium and phosphate, are both positively charged ions that are attracted to negative ions. The mutual attraction causes fluoride molecules to combine with calcium and phosphate molecules. The result is a compound called fluorapatite, which is stronger than calcium and phosphate alone. As a result, the tooth enamel becomes stronger and more resistant against erosion and decay.
What can I expect when having fluoride treatments at my Knoxville dental office?
Fluoride treatments at your Knoxville dental office will begin with a professional teeth cleaning to remove excess plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth. This ensures a smooth surface for fluoride application. Once the teeth are clean, fluoride will be applied as a foam, polish, or gel to the surface of the teeth. It only takes a matter of minutes to apply fluoride to the teeth and this process is completely painless. In most cases, fluoride treatments will be performed twice a year in coordination with your semi-annual dental cleaning, however treatments can be performed as many as four times a year.
Is fluoride safe?
Yes, fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in soil, rocks, and water. Some communities have also implemented fluoride into their drinking water. Over the years fluoride has been in the drinking water, there have been various medical and health organizations that have approved fluoride as safe and have advocated for its use in preserving oral health.
With that being said, excess fluoride is not recommended for children under the age of 6. This is because excess fluoride can cause a cosmetic condition known as fluorosis. Fluorosis affects the appearance of the teeth through surface irregularities, pronounced pits, or stains ranging from white spots, light yellow, and dark brown. In most cases, fluorosis is caused by a water source, nevertheless it is still important to monitor your child’s dental products.