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What is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride varnish is a highly concentrated form of fluoride which is applied to the tooth’s surface, by a dentist, dental hygienist or other health care professional, as a type of topical fluoride therapy. It is not a permanent varnish but due to its adherent nature it is able to stay in contact with the tooth surface for several hours.  It is applied to the enamel of the tooth and can be used to help prevent decay, remineralize the tooth surface and to treat dentine hyper sensitivity.  Fluoride varnishes are relatively new in the United States, but they have been widely used in western Europe, Canada, and the Scandinavian countries since the 1980s as a caries prevention therapy. Both Canadian and European studies have reported that fluoride varnish is as effective in preventing tooth decay as professionally applied fluoride gel.

  • Fluoride varnish is composed of a high concentration of fluoride as a salt or silane preparation in a fast drying, alcohol and resin based solution.  Based on published findings, professionally applied fluoride varnish does not appear to be a risk factor for dental fluorosis, even in children under the age of 6. This is due to the reduction in the amount of fluoride which may potentially be swallowed during the fluoride treatment because of the small quantities used and the adherence of the varnish to the teeth.

At Kopp Dental, we find the use of fluoride varnish to be an effective way to apply fluoride to prevent tooth decay and use as desensitizing agent for our patients. Contact our dentist in Elmhurst today if you have any questions!

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