What is Sodium Fluoride Varnish?
Fluoride is a natural occurring mineral that’s found in everything from the soil and plant life to fish and natural water sources. It’s just one of the minerals alongside of calcium that our body uses to form strong bones (and teeth!)
But fluoride also comes in different variations. One of the most popular is sodium fluoride, as it’s very soluble in water. As such, it’s one of the frequently used variations of fluoride for municipal water treatments as well as services found in your dentist’s office.
When applied directly to your teeth, sodium fluoride remineralizes weakened enamel and makes healthy tooth structure more resistant to decay.
Varnish vs. Gel or Foam
In the “old days,” (which really weren’t even that long ago, really,) most professional fluoride treatments that you received after a dental cleaning were in the form of a foam or gel inside of a squishy tray that fit over your teeth. You wore the tray for a few minutes, then any remaining fluoride was suctioned away, and you were advised to not eat or drink for a half hour or more. This prevented any surface fluoride from being washed or wiped away, allowing the porous tooth enamel to soak in as much as possible.
But with a varnish, the tacky-like texture immediately adheres to the tooth and stays there for several hours. It’s applied with a small brush just one tooth at a time and in most cases, there are no dietary restrictions. Just avoid brushing your teeth until the end of the day, so that the fluoride can be absorbed as much as possible.
Advantages of Fluoride Varnish
With a sodium fluoride varnish, you can enjoy:
• Maximum mineral uptake into your teeth
• No need to wait to eat or drink after your dental appointment
• Relief for tooth sensitivity
• Reversal of enamel demineralization (early tooth decay)
• Greater resistance against cavities
Using Fluoride Varnish to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
Fluoride varnish is an effective option for managing chronic tooth sensitivity. If your teeth are healthy but tend to be hypersensitive to temperature changes (as when you’re eating) or just breathing in through your mouth, then you may want to request a varnish treatment.
Applying fluoride varnish usually provides relief for sensitive teeth on the very same day, with results lasting up to three or four months. You can stop by your dentist’s office at any time to have another treatment. Even if it’s not covered by your dental insurance, the affordable procedure is worth the minimal investment!
Is Fluoride Dangerous?
As with any type of vitamin or mineral, ingesting too much of a good thing isn’t good. But in appropriate doses, fluoride is vital to having a healthy smile that lasts through life. Not only do regular fluoride exposures or varnish treatments help you keep your teeth strong, they significantly lower the risk of decay due to the gradual erosion process from our foods and drinks. Most professionals suggest an application every six months for preventative purposes.
If you have questions about sodium fluoride varnish, be sure to speak with your Kois Center dentist! Find one near you today.