Fluoride Varnish: Everything You Need to Know

September 2, 2021

Although the enamel is one of the hardest parts of the body, the teeth are still destructible. They can get damaged due to decay, bruxism, or a fall, and children are more at risk of damage than adults. While wearing a mouthguard can protect your child’s teeth when playing a contact sport, you need other preventive measures. The use of fluoride is one of the preventive ways you can protect their teeth.

Fluoride treatment is available in different forms like gels, foam, or mouth rinses. However, for children, fluoride varnish in Houston, TX, is the most recommended.

What is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride varnish is a solution applied on the surface of the teeth to protect them from cavities and decay or reverse the active cavities. When applied, the varnish will harden on the teeth to offer that layer of protection.

Our pediatric dentist in Houston, TX, uses varnish because it keeps the child from swallowing the fluoride solution.

It is recommended to get fluoride varnish near you at least four times a year or every three months. But, the frequency will depend on your child’s cavity risk level.

Why is the Fluoride Treatment Recommended?

The teeth are hard because they are mineralized with phosphate and calcium. However, because of certain habits like consuming sugary foods or poor dental hygiene, these minerals are stripped out of the teeth. The demineralization process leaves the teeth exposed, and the enamel begins to break down. The enamel can reabsorb the mineral if provided with fluoride in a process called re-mineralization.

The dentist may recommend fluoride varnish near you as soon as the baby teeth begin emerging to preserve them and prevent cavities

How does It work?

When the dentist applies the fluoride varnish, the mineral will flow into the crevices in the enamel, making the teeth absorb the fluoride. The primary purpose of the mineral is to prevent cavities. However, it can also slow down the progression of the active cavities in the teeth.

If you have large cavities, however, varnish treatment alone is not enough to repair the damage. A pediatric dentist near you will use other forms of treatment like fillings to restore the function of the teeth.

What is the Process of Getting the Varnish?

Fluoride varnish is fixed on the top part and the sides of the teeth using a small brush. The solution will harden when it comes in contact with the saliva. Once the varnish sticks, the child will not be able to lick it off. Although the process is pain-free, your child may feel the varnish hardness.

The application process is fast, so the child will only be on the dental chair for a few minutes. If they are nervous and are crying, it may help when you hold your child in your lap for easy varnish application.

What Can You Expect?

Fluoride varnish is a clear solution, however, some brands can make the teeth appear yellow or dull. Your child’s teeth natural shade will return to normal after the varnish is rinsed off.

Our pediatric dentist will give aftercare instructions to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Avoid brushing or flossing the teeth that day or night after the varnish is applied. You can resume the normal teeth cleaning process the following morning.

Give them soft foods the rest of the day and avoid crunchy or chewy foods. Also, the food should be warm– not too hot or cold.

Is Varnish Safe?

Yes, fluoride varnish is safe. The dentists use small amounts of the solution to prevent tooth decay in children. Furthermore, the varnish hardens immediately, which reduces the chances of the child swallowing the fluoride.

Fluoride varnish is, however, not recommended if your child has sores in the mouth. Some children may have allergies to different types of varnish, so it is vital to consult a pediatric dentist before using store-bought versions.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Urbach Pediatric Dentistry for more information on fluoride varnish, how it is applied, and its benefits to your child’s oral health.