Over 35 million people in the United States are sixty-five years or older. Sixty-five is the standard age most researchers used to identify the geriatric population. In ten years, this aging population percentage will be over 15%. By the year 2030, 20% of our population will be seniors. Seniors need and deserve to be able to take advantage of all that modern dentistry has to offer.
In a dental office, the dentist and dental hygienists work together in clinical patient treatment. Technology has given dentistry another treatment modality for the dental hygienist to use during therapy to maintain and protect oral health, adult in-office low-level fluoride varnish therapy.
Q: My grandchildren receive full mouth fluoride varnish treatments twice a year at their cleaning appointments, I always get fluoride rinses, what could varnish do for me?
A: These 5% Sodium Fluoride varnishes provide instant tooth surface protection. Three areas where varnish treatments impact the adult dentition are to reduce the occurrence of dental decay, relieving existing thermal sensitivity and protecting against destruction from acid erosion. The American Dental Association recommends the application of fluoride varnish to those of all ages who are at an increased risk for dental decay.
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 and remains for a number of hours releasing fluoride ions to the most needed areas of the tooth (between the teeth and root surfaces). There is no significant fluoride ingestion. No eating, drinking or smoking for 30 minutes following the treatment is recommended for increased topical affect. The therapy is repeated at three to six-month intervals.
No safety concerns have been linked to fluoride varnish. They are allergen and gluten-free.
Q: Which adult patients would benefit from fluoride varnish treatments?
A: Here is a partial list for patients with:
- Recent tooth decay
- Dry mouth syndrome (Xerostomia)
- Radiation therapy
- Fixed crowns and bridges
- Active braces or bonded brackets
- Poor oral hygiene
- Sensitive teeth
- Exposed root surfaces and tooth erosion
- Acid reflux
- Eating disorders
- High sugar/acid dietary habits
Q: How do you treat gum recession with resulting 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.
The addition of 2-4 times a year treatment with topical fluoride varnish at routine dental visits aids in limiting the acid effect from dental plaque on tooth enamel. Thus, helping to prevent tooth decay, sensitivity and erosion. Varnish also treats dentinal hypersensitivity that exists and can give immediate and long-lasting relief from cold food and drinks.
Utilize modern dental technologies for maximum prevention and limit destruction with early treatment. Our graying population has different dental needs than in their youth but professional fluoride treatments are still benefitable.