What is fluoride therapy?

Fluoride therapy is the delivery of fluoride to the teeth topically or systemically in order to prevent tooth decay (dental caries) which results in cavities.

What are the different methods of using fluoride?

Topical: Most commonly, fluoride is applied topically to the teeth using gels, varnishes, toothpaste/ dentifrices or mouth rinse. Tooth pastes and mouth rinses has very low concentration of fluoride in comparison to in-office applicable gels and varnishes.
Systemic: This delivery involves fluoride supplementation using water, salt, tablets or drops which are swallowed. Tablets or drops are rarely used where public water supplies are fluoridated.
We generally recommend topical application of Fluoride, as its action is as per the mechanism of action and saves one from any systemic effect of fluoride.

How does fluoride help against cavities?

All fluoridation methods have a topical effect on the teeth and systemic effect on bacterial pysiology. Technically, fluoride does not prevent cavities but rather controls the rate at which they develop.

  • Fluoride forms fluorapatite crystal via remineralization of hydroxyapatite crystal of enamel. This fluoraptite crystal is more resistant to acidic dissolution.
  • Fluoride also affects the physiology of bacteria present in mouth and decreases their growth. 

What are the Indications for fluoride therapy?

  • White spots
  • Moderate to high risk patients for developing decay
  • Active decay
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Additional protection if necessary for children in areas without fluoridated drinking water
  • To reduce tooth sensitivity
  • Protect root surface
  • Decreased salivary flow
  • Institutionalized patients

What is the procedure of In-office fluoride application?

A soft mouth tray applies the gel or foam. The tray is loaded with gel and it is held in the mouth by biting. Both the arches can be done at the same time. Patient is asked to do soft clenching movements. Application generally takes about one-four minutes. We use suction to ensure that the patient does not swallow the gel. Trays are removed after specific time and the excess gel material is wiped with cotton. Patients are advised not to rinse, eat, smoke, or drink for at least 30 minutes after application.