November 23, 2017
Health & Fitness
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Tooth Decay, Sensitivity Or Erosion?

Dr. Jeffrey Cranska
Dr. Jeffrey Cranska's picture
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March 7, 2017

Dentists and dental hygienists work together in clinical patient treatment. Thanks to technology, dental hygienists can now help patients maintain and protect their oral health with the use of a new treatment tool: adult in-office fluoride varnish therapy.

Q: What happens at my maintenance visit with the dental hygienist?

A: Your health history is reviewed. Your teeth and gums are examined. An oral cancer screening is performed. Your oral hygiene home care is evaluated. You get your teeth professionally cleaned and polished (the cleaning removes plaque, tartar and stains). X-rays are taken if needed. Teeth are treated with fluoride compounds. Any tooth sensitivity is addressed. Oral hygiene techniques – brushing, flossing, and the use of other inter-dental cleaners – are reviewed. This is your chance to address questions and concerns.

Q: My children receive full-mouth fluoride varnish treatments twice a year at their cleaning appointments, and I always get fluoride rinses. What could varnish do for me?

A: These 5 percent sodium fluoride varnishes provide instant tooth surface protection. Varnish treatments reduce the occurrence of dental decay, relieve existing thermal sensitivity and protect against destruction from acid erosion.

Fluoride varnish is brushed onto all tooth surfaces in a single application. The white or clear flavored varnish is dispensed from a prepackaged unit dose pack. There is immediate fluoride uptake into teeth, remaining for several hours, releasing fluoride ions to the most-needed areas of the tooth (between the teeth and root surfaces). No eating, drinking or smoking for 30 minutes following the treatment for increased topical affect. The therapy is repeated at six-month intervals.

Q: Which adult patients would benefit from twice-a-year fluoride treatments?

A: Here is a partial list for patients with:

1.   High decay incidence

2.   Dry mouth syndrome

3.   Radiation therapy

4.   Fixed crowns and bridges

5.   Active braces or bonded brackets

6.   Poor oral hygiene

7.   Sensitive teeth

8.   Tooth erosion

9.   Acid reflux

10.  Eating disorders

11.  High sugar/acid dietary habits

Q: How do you treat tooth erosion?

A: Early demineralization can be reversed with dental office and home application of prescription fluoride and calcium phosphate gels and varnishes.

Once tooth enamel is destroyed, the only treatment is the placement of a restoration at the dentist.

Our graying population has different dental needs than in their youth.

The additional twice-a-year treatment with topical fluoride varnish at cleanings aids in limiting the acid effect from dental plaque on tooth enamel, helping to prevent tooth decay, sensitivity and erosion.

Utilize modern dental technologies for maximum prevention, and limit destruction with early treatment.


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