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What is a Fluoride Treatment?

Fluoride TreatmentFluoride is an essential mineral for the health of your teeth. If you do not keep good oral hygiene habits, plaque, an acid-producing bacteria, can build up and cause cavities and tooth decay. Fluoride is found in the toothpaste you use to brush your teeth, but only in small amounts. When you receive a fluoride treatment from your dentist, a more effective, higher concentration of fluoride is used than what is contained in a toothpaste.

Fluoride can help protect teeth from cavities as well as fix teeth that are in the very early stages of decay. Fluoride treatments are quick and completely painless.

The treatment goes as follows:

Step 1: Applying the Fluoride

Fluoride can be applied in a couple of different ways. These include gel, foam, varnish or a solution. If your dentist gives you fluoride in a varnish or solution form, this will be used as a rinse. Gel form fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth and left on for a couple of minutes, and the other form, foam, is placed in a mouth guard that is left on your teeth.

Step 2: Removal of Fluoride

Once your dentist cleans up any excess fluoride still in your mouth, they will most likely advise you to not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes. The fluoride needs time to absorb into your teeth to fix and clean them.

Step 3: Additional Treatments

Depending on your situation, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatment every 3, 6, or 12 months. For individuals with a higher risk of tooth decay, there are fluoride products available by prescription that your dentist may suggest to you.

The easiest way to protect your teeth from plaque and the risk of tooth decay is through proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits. There are fluoride mouthwashes available at stores and we suggest checking the ADA database for products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These products are tested for safety and effectiveness, you can find their accepted fluoride mouthwash products here.

dental x-rays

Bite-Wing

As the name would suggest, bite-wing X-rays are integral for determining a patient’s bite profile.

Before the image is taken, you may be asked to bite down on a small plate or sensor. Then, the radiologist will take a quick snapshot of your teeth.

The scope of these X-rays is more narrow than its counterparts, as each image only details about four teeth. With that said, they’re highly-detailed, capturing a dental profile down to the bone.

Aside from helping dentists learn more about enamel strength, it’s also a great way to discover overcrowding problems or crooked growth.

Periapical

Where bite-wing images give a full-sized look at your, periapical imaging gives an in-depth look at about four to five teeth at most.

Most doctors will use this type of dental X-ray to diagnose problems with a patient’s root, such as an abscess or a broken tooth – both of which are easy fixes.

If you go to your dentist complaining of tooth pain, they’ll likely suggest undergoing a periapical X-ray.

Cephalometric

If you’ve ever seen a massive machine in your dentist’s office, there’s a good chance it was a panoramic camera used for cephalometric imaging.

This is simply an image of your profile. Taken from the side, a cephalometric X-ray is helpful in determining an under or overbite in a patient. Furthermore, it can assist in locating the presence of harmful bacteria in oral tissue.

Often, this type of mouth X-ray is recommended for patients considering braces or corrective surgery.

Panoramic

Like the cephalometric X-ray, a panoramic image, unsurprisingly, requires the use of a specialized panoramic camera.

Like its counterpart, a panoramic image gives a full view of your mouth.

However, it’s less concerned with the jaw, instead focusing on the teeth. This is a great option for those who may have impacted teeth or believe they may have an oral tumor.

Tomogram

When a dental professional needs a close look at a hard-to-see area, such as under a patient’s gums, they’ll recommend a tomogram. This type of X-ray is as minute as it gets.

What’s more, dentists can use a computerized tomography to create a fully three-dimensional portrait of your teeth, allowing for an even better look at the smallest details of a tooth.

Most of the time, the reason for a dental visit is for your routine teeth cleaning.

professional teeth cleaning

Knowing what happens during this cleaning can help put you at ease and allow for a comfortable experience.

Step 1: Physical Exam

The hygienist, who will be the one to clean your teeth, will begin by examining your mouth with a small mirror. This is to check your teeth and gums for any signs of issues.

Step 2: Removal of Plaque and Tartar

Your hygienist will use a scaler to remove any plaque and tartar from around your gums and between your teeth.

Step 3: Brushing

Once the hygienist has removed the plaque from your teeth, they will use a high-powered brush to clean your teeth.

Step 4: Flossing

After your brushing, your hygienist will then floss your teeth. This flossing will help remove any remaining plaque and toothpaste.

Step 5: Fluoride

Fluoride will be applied to your teeth to help protect them from cavities. The fluoride helps keeps your teeth protected for months at a time.

Although brushing and flossing at home is important, scheduling routine visits to the dentist are one of the best ways to keep a healthy smile. If you’re due for a six-month cleaning, schedule your visit with a dentist near you.

To protect teeth from decay, dentists often recommend dental sealants.

Dental SealantsDental sealants are generally placed on children’s teeth, although adults can receive sealants as well. Dental sealants are usually placed on the permanent back teeth and cover the chewing area of a tooth. If your child is receiving a dental sealant, their pediatric dentist can place the sealant on the teeth.

Back teeth are more susceptible to decay because they are more difficult to clean. Dental sealants offer a good way to help your child protect their teeth. If you or your child are receiving sealants and would like to know what the procedure involves, here is what you can expect.

Step 1: Preparing the Tooth
The teeth that will be receiving the dental sealants will be cleaned and washed off. Next, an acidic solution is applied to the chewing surface of the tooth and rinsed off. The acidic solution will create a rougher area on the tooth that makes the sealant attach easier.

Step 2: Placing the Dental Sealant
The dental sealant is a liquid material that will be set on the tooth. This material will be dried using a special light, or the sealant may contain an ingredient that will automatically dry.

You should still continue practicing proper dental hygiene even on teeth with dental sealants. Sealants help protect the tooth from decay but it is not a substitute for cleaning.

Dental casts are recreations of your teeth that can be used in a number of cases.

Common reasons your dentist would need to use a dental cast include:

  • what are dental castsCreating a dental crown, fixed bridge, and dentures
  • Custom mouth guards
  • Retainers
  • Teeth whitening trays

A dentist may also need to use dental casts to study a patients teeth, gums and arches. Here is how a dentist creates these casts.

Step 1: Measurements 
A dental assistant will need to measure the size of your mouth to determine what tray to use for your impressions.

Step 2: Molding Material
Once the correct tray is found, the material used to cast your teeth will be created and poured into the tray.

Step 3: Impressions
The tray is then placed in your mouth, creating an accurate impression of your teeth. This process will take a few minutes.

Step 4: Cleaning
The tray is removed and your teeth are cleaned of any excess material that is left on your teeth.

Receiving a dental cast is a pain-free experience and gives the dentist a lot of important information about the status of your mouth and its development. Be sure to stop by our blog to read more dental health tips!

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