Common Conditions

Do Adults Need Fluoride Treatments?

My dentist wants to give me fluoride treatments, but do they really help at age 48? I don't want to pay for it if it's unnecessary.

by Dr. Burhenne

Do Adults Need Fluoride Treatments?
Q:

Do adults need fluoride treatments? My dentist wants to give me fluoride treatments, but do they really help at age 48? I don't want to pay for it if it's unnecessary.

A: Typically, fluoride treatments end at age 14; that’s when insurance companies stop paying for topical fluoride treatments.

However, fluoride can help at any age. Let me explain why.

Fluoride is similar to calcium, except that it has an extra electron, and therefore is more willing to bond to tooth structure in the place of calcium. Of course, like calcium, fluoride is a hard substance that makes the tooth strong.

At age 48, if you have lots of crowns with leaky margins, areas of tooth erosion, or areas of abfraction (damaged areas of teeth with exposed dentin) then fluoride treatment can make these areas stronger, more resistant to decay, and less sensitive to hot and cold.

I myself use a paste made called Fuji MI Paste. It is the last thing I brush with before I go to bed and it has a prescription strength amount of fluoride in it to help remineralize areas of my teeth that have been demineralized during the day or are susceptible to decay.

In in our lives, we suffer certain dental maladies based on our age. As children, we get cavities. In our mid-adult years, we are susceptible to gum disease, and as we reach our older years, past age 50, the last big dental hurdle is root decay. That is why daily use of fluoride is a good idea. It can slow down and even prevent root decay.

Root decay can be debilitating because the root is softer than the enamel and it’s more accelerated than regular decay. Root decay can be more serious than regular decay because the distance from the nerve to the root is closer than the distance from the nerve to the biting surface of the tooth, which is where we got cavities as kids — making a root canal more likely to be needed in a shorter period of time.

The only remaining question is, should my dentist give me a dental treatment in the office, otherwise known as dental varnish, after a cleaning? I think in certain cases, this is a good idea, as the fluoride is best absorbed by these demineralized areas immediately after a thorough cleaning.

Depending on your need for this treatment, I highly recommend it in certain cases.

Hope that helps!

Mark Burhenne DDS

If you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment below. I read each and every one!

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    • The ADA report also goes on to say home water filtres may also affect the levels of fluoride and of course if your source of water is from a well then their is no fluoride. The arguments against bottled water are shared with bottled soda, bottled teas, bottled beer and bottled juices. The common factor is the plastic bottle which is why you have seen so many changes and innovations in recent years.

  1. I had a filling done aleast a year ago or less.. it was only as small as a grain of salt. It was a little bit of my of my old filling from when I was a child under 18 and now I’m 31.. it happened when I was 30 .. I went to a dentistry I received a cleaning and exrays.. I was told my teeth were close to perfection .. the assistantwo stated that I only had micro amount of filling coming from an old filling and my appointment was for the following month or so. . So the day of the filling the dentist was estastick to see someone from his old neighborhood.. He and the guy were having fun while doing the work on the guy’s mouth.. but when he was done. . the lady said that he to do a filling his attitude changed to statements of his not wanting to do a filling loudly. As he started to suck of his attitude. . In the middle of drilling he started saying “Oh I see decay here and there. “Or” After this you might have an apcess ” or ” Or after this could be a root canal or maybe a extractions. .” Nothing positive came out of his mouth. . The whole time. . I asked questions. . I was in the middle of the process of receiving the filling..I just cried trying to hold back tears .I didn’t understand.. I had did everything that was needed to have good oral health. Nothing he said made me feel better. . He claimed that the filling he did may not stay..and if it fell out I’d end up with an apcess or worse. He stated how much of a professional help was . He kinda bragged on his work and how guaranteed he was.. He drilled so much till he hit the tooth next to the actual one that needed the work done. . I left feeling cheated..confused. .made and wanted nothing else to do with that dentist. It came out within a month or so.. I went without anything in my tooth.. I needed a plan b. I have no insurance. I pay out of pocket. My trust was kind of leary especiallyif it meant going back to the same dentist. . NO NOT ME… I went to the local dollar store and found dental temp and have been using that since then. .I want to keep my tooth .. I want to do what I need to keep from any root canals and everything else. . Please help. .

  2. I enjoyed this article, however I wanted to clarify that 14 is not an across-the-board cutoff age for fluoride to be covered by your insurance. Many plans cover it until 18, and some allow it for adults. There also seems to be an increasing number of dental plans allowing 1 fluoride treatment per year, rather than at each checkup.

    Rachelle Shaw, DDS (www.ABQPediatricDentistry.com)

  3. Mi paste plus doesn’t contain 9000 ppm but actually 900 ppm which is actual less than most conventional toothpastes.

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