What is it?
Dental varnish is a topical fluoride used to prevent tooth decay. It provides extra protection against tooth decay when used in addition to brushing. It is especially useful to help prevent cavities in young children where the treatment to eliminate a cavity often involves the use of anesthesia.
How is it applied?
A small piece of gauze is used to clean and dry the teeth. The varnish is painted onto the front, back, top and bottom of the teeth with a tiny brush. It forms a sticky covering over the teeth and becomes hard as soon as saliva touches it. The varnish sets quickly (around 2 minutes) and has a pleasant taste and fruity smell.
How does it work?
The fluoride in the varnish enters the tooth enamel and makes the tooth more durable. It prevents new cavities and slows down or stops decay from getting worse. If tooth decay is in its preliminary stages, it repairs the tooth. Your child does not have to wait to eat or drink, however the food consumed throughout the rest of the day should be soft in texture. Lastly your child should not brush or floss their teeth until the next morning.
How often should my child get it?
Dental varnish can be applied 4 times a year or every 3 months. Studies show that children who get this procedure done every 3 months have considerably fewer cavities than those who do not get it done.
What are the risks?
There are no serious risks associated with dental varnish. There is a very small chance that children who swallow too much fluoride over long periods of time can develop white spots on their teeth.
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