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Dentistry/prescription fluoride paste?

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Question
Is prescription fluoride toothpaste safe? Last year I requested prescription toothpaste from the dentist i used and he said "you don't want that it can cause thyroid problems" or something like that. I am thinking of asking whichever dentist I go to this year the same thing. I am sick of getting fillings every time if I can just use some prescription paste and it would lower the chance of fillings.thanks

Answer
Dear John:
...if it were only that easy...
Fluoride is one of the greatest public health measures ever taken.  It allowed us to grow a generation who is virtually caries (decay) free.  Most of my generation 40-50 year olds and younger have grown up in a fluoridated water system and have much less cavities than any generation before us.  However, that is at the aggregate level. Individually, there are many people with dental decay due to genetic factors and poor oral hygiene.  
Receiving fluoride through the water system, as most people do, or receiving supplements will reduce the RISK of getting cavities, in general, but it is not an indication for you, as an individual, that you will not get cavities.  It is just like wearing a seat belt in a car.  If you wear a seat belt, you will reduce your chances of getting injured in a car crash and there are plenty people who do not wear a seat belt and still do not get into a car accident.  In addition, even if you wear a seat belt, you will still get injured if you are in a severe crash.
Fluoride is very effective as teeth develop in children.  However, in adults, the benefits are marginal.  To my knowledge, there are no adverse effects of fluoride if taken at prescribed doses.  However, typically, prescription fluoride is given to children who live in a non-fluoridated area (in New York, the water is fluoridated in most counties).  In addition, people who undergo radiation and chemo therapy receive supplements.
If you do not fall into any of the risk groups, than the benefits of fluoride are negligible.
The best you can do is to go and see a dentist whom you trust and make sure that you follow a careful hygiene regiment at home and go and get a professional cleaning at least twice yearly and appropriate X-ray.
If you want to make sure that you are seen by the most qualified dentist, go see a prosthodontist, who is the expert in restorative, cosmetic, and implant dentistry.  Www.gotoapro.org will have a link to an expert near you.
Best of luck,

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Zev Kaufman, D.D.S.

Expertise

I can answer any question from simple routine dentistry to very complex dentistry with emphasis on reconstructive, cosmetic, and implant dentistry. My expertise is in co-ordination of very complex treatment plans with other dental specialists or as a one-man-team, since I have extensive training in Prosthodontics, Surgical Implantology, and orthodontics.

Experience

Over a decade in private practice of Surgical Implantology and Prosthodontics. Founder and owner of Prosthodontics & Implant Surgery of Manhattan, PC. Clinical Assistant Professor at the Post-Graduate Department of Periodontics & Implant Dentistry at New York University College of Dentistry. Lecture weekly since 1999 on advanced Implant Prosthodontics at New York University College of Dentistry Post-Graduate Program in Periodontics & Implant Dentistry. Former clinical assistant professor of Dental Radiology at the NYU College of Dentistry. Former clinical and lecture faculty at Lincoln Hospital, Dental residency program. Former clinical and lecture faculty at St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY) dental residency program. Lecture nationally on Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry.

Organizations
Memeber of the American College of Prosthodontics. Memeber of the Acacdemy of Osseointegration. Member or the Omikron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) Honors Dental Society. Member of the American Dental Education Association.

Education/Credentials
Graduated with Honors from New York University College of Dentistry. Post-Graduate training and certificate in the specialty of Prosthodontics. Post-Graduate training and ceritificate in Surgical and Prosthetic Implant Dentistry. Honors-program in Comprehensive and Applied Practice Management. Honors-program in Orthodontics.

Awards and Honors
NYU Cervice award to the community. OKU honor society. National Dean's List. National Who's Who.

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