|Home Treatment: $5-$20||Professional Treatment: Free-$50||Routine Dental Exam & Cleaning: $75-$300+|
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that protects against tooth decay. It works by stopping or even reversing the tooth decay process. While bacteria in the mouth produces acid that removes minerals from tooth enamel, fluoride helps to replace the minerals on a tooth's surface and strengthen the enamel. Dentists recommend fluoride treatment be done every six months and more often for those at high risk of tooth decay.
What should be included:
- Dentists can apply fluoride directly to teeth in the form of a gel, foam or varnish. Typically, fluoride treatments cost $20 -$50. For example, the Brandywine Smile Center in Pennsylvania offers adult fluoride treatments for $35. Dental insurance might cover the cost of fluoride treatments because it is a preventive measure.
- Home fluoride treatment gels and rinses are made by a variety of oral care manufacturers. Generally, gels and mouthwashes with fluoride cost $5 -$20. Colgate, for example, makes gel and mouthwash products that offer fluoride protection.
- Many brands of toothpaste come with small doses of fluoride. Generally, toothpastes containing fluoride costs $2 -$7 per tube.
- Fluoride treatments can be part of a routine dental exam and cleaning. A standard teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist can cost $75-$200; with X-rays and an exam by the dentist the total can be $100-$300 or more.
- A dentist applies fluoride directly to a patient's teeth using a gel, foam or varnish. Varnishes and gels can be painted on the teeth; gels typically are placed in a mouth guard a held in place for about 5 minutes. The Journal of the American Dental Association explains the procedure for fluoride treatments in a dentist's office.
- Home fluoride kits might require mouth trays for the application process. Basic fluoride trays are frequently sold in bulk, and it can cost $7-$40 or more for a package of 50-100. For example, Plak Smacker offers a bag of 50 Dual-Arched Hinged Foam Fluoride Trays for $7.50 and Amazon sells a package of 50 Sultan Topex Large Dual Arch Fluoride Trays for $29 plus $5 shipping, or $34 total.
- Fluoridated water is available in many communities across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fluoridated water costs the average consumer about $1 per year. As a result of using fluoridated water, the CDC estimates consumers save $15 -$20 per year on dental care. The CDC's My Water's Fluoride page helps consumers determine the level of fluoride in local drinking water.
Shopping for fluoride treatment:
- Oral health product manufacturers frequently offer online coupons for products. Crest and Colgate both offer pages with coupons for products.
- Regular fluoride treatments, even those not covered by insurance, are less expensive than waiting until a cavity forms and repairing it with a filling. Fillings can cost $50-$450 or more per tooth. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research offers tips for finding low-cost dental care .
- Some states have free fluoride treatment programs aimed at school-age children. For example, Mississippi provides a fluoride treatment program for students in areas with low fluoridation in the drinking water. With permission from parent, the students rinse their mouths with a fluoride-rich solution once a week at school.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how fluoride helps prevent tooth decay . The CDC also provides a useful fact sheet answering questions about water fluoridation.
- The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry provides guidelines on fluoride therapy .
- The American Dental Association has a nationwide dental directory .
- The Academy of General Dentistry also provides a listing of dentists nationwide.
- Look for the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance on oral health products. Products with the seal have met the ADA's criteria for safety and effectiveness.
| Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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