Many dental insurance plans do not cover in-office fluoride varnish treatments for adults. They have determined for some reason that fluoride varnish is important for kids to have, but when it comes to the over 18 crowd – not so important.
Does that mean that we should just punt on discussing the benefits of fluoride with adults when we’re talking about our kids?
Not quite. So we’re asking…
Do You Want Fluoride with That?
Here at MFD, we don’t let insurance companies dictate what treatments our patients should have. We let our clinicians (Dr. Monica and team) determine what treatments are best for each individual patient, once we have an opportunity to evaluate your specific conditions and habits.
When it comes to fluoride varnish, we have decided to offer an in-office treatment during your regular visits for only $10
Here are some of the benefits of fluoride that we relay to our patients (of all ages)
- A reduction in sensitivity for your teeth
- Provides an extra layer of protection when you have root exposure
- Reduces the risk of cavities
- Helps maintain structurally sound teeth
And the great thing about this treatment is that it is quick and easy to apply.
Here’s a brief overview of the fluoride treatment experience you’ll receive in our office
First, the paste that our hygienists use to clean your teeth already has a small amount of fluoride in it. So you’ll get that benefit as part of your regular cleaning.
When you elect to have the $10 fluoride varnish, we’ll apply a thin, nail-polish-like substance to your teeth. All we’ll need to do is dry your teeth, quickly paint on the varnish, then let it dry for about 5 seconds.
Following treatment, you’re able to eat and drink, as usual, right after you leave the office (read – no additional restrictions).
Over time, the fluoride will be absorbed by your teeth, providing the nutrients and extra layer of protection you’ll need.
How often do we recommend this additional fluoride treatment?
Depending on the risk for cavities, we will typically recommend this treatment once or twice per year which could line up perfectly with your regular visits.
So what’s the deal with insurance companies not covering fluoride for adults?
Fluoride can be beneficial to teeth in different ways depending on the developmental stage of the teeth.
For example, fluoride is great for kids as an extra layer of protection, just like dental sealants, as well as providing a nutritional boost for the teeth.
That protection and nutritional boost remain true for adult teeth, just like the ‘baby’ or primary teeth.
As a comparison – many insurance companies will only cover crowns on front teeth but not on back teeth. Yes, the front teeth are what we all see day-to-day, but the back teeth are where we do most of our chewing, and without healthy and intact back teeth, many patients have difficulty chewing and thus getting the proper nutrients they need.
So, just because an insurance company doesn’t cover a crown on a back tooth doesn’t mean those crowns aren’t important…
Is fluoride healthy for my body, not just my teeth?
Short answer – yes.
Just like too much of many things can be harmful, we don’t recommend receiving treatments monthly. However, fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has proven to be beneficial when used in the appropriate dosages.
What are some drawbacks to not receiving fluoride?
For a quick history lesson, fluoride was first introduced into municipal water supplies to combat severe decay seen in urban populations (Grand Rapids, MI was the first in 1945).
So clinicians, together with city planners, teamed up to find the best, most cost-effective way to positively influence the largest segment of the population. And when fluoridated water was first introduced into our drinking water, clinicians saw a drastic reduction in decay and other dental issues.
Just like the clinicians and city planners back in 1945, we think there are great benefits to applying fluoride to teeth of all ages (even those over 18)!
Please don’t hesitate to call us at MFD with any questions, comments, or to schedule your next appointment!