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Mr. Tran brings in his 18 month old son Henry for a well child visit. You know the Tran family well, but see them only sporadically due to their lack of health insurance, mobility, and other life priorities. Overall, the Tran family children are quite healthy. The only significant problems have been with Henry’s older sister who has extensive dental caries, primarily related to the family’s poor understanding of the role of preventive care and appropriate diet.
On exam you note several white lines on Henry’s teeth along with a small early cavity (photo). You counsel the family about oral hygiene and dentally appropriate diet, facilitate referral to a dental home, and consider the possibility of applying fluoride varnish.
Joanna Douglass, BDS, DDS
Your decision to apply fluoride varnish should be based upon which of the following statements?
After consideration, you make the decision to apply fluoride varnish to Henry’s teeth. While discussing Henry’s treatment plan and obtaining informed consent, Mr. Tran raises concerns about the safety of fluoride varnish.
Which of the following statements about the safety of fluoride varnish is most correct?
Once reassured as to the safety of fluoride varnish, Mr. Tran then inquires, “How does fluoride help to protect Henry’s teeth?”
The most appropriate response to Mr. Tran’s question is: