Adopt a Tray

Oct. 1, 2007
Sit ... heel ... now fetch! Adopting a stray pet from the neighborhood animal shelter can have many hidden rewards for the new pet owner...

by Karen Kaiser, RDH

Sit ... heel ... now fetch! Adopting a stray pet from the neighborhood animal shelter can have many hidden rewards for the new pet owner as well as spare the life of an animal who wants to become a faithful furry friend. Rescue shelters are teeming with animals, young and old alike, that would make cherished companions.

Research has shown that having contact with a domesticated animal offers health benefits. Lower levels of cholesterol and decreased blood pressure readings have been discovered in people who own pets or who are visited by pets regularly in a care home. Perhaps owning a pet encourages the owner to become more active by caring for the animal, which in turn helps reduce the incidence of heart disease. For example, briskly walking a dog becomes a regular exercise routine. On the whole, this added exercise may help to improve the owner’s health and well-being. Mental health improves because pets can make wonderful pals and help alleviate loneliness and thwart depression.

Be it a dog or cat, animals keep us company. Adopting just the right stray from a shelter to love and bond with is important.

So, too, is adopting the right disposable fluoride tray for professional applications performed in the dental office.

Discovering Fluoride Trays

Disposable trays routinely support fluoride medicaments for topical applications. Topical fluoride gels or foam fill the tray’s troughs and then are placed over the tooth surfaces for a specified amount of time. The key to a successful fluoride treatment is to maintain full coverage of the medicament on the tooth surfaces for the right amount of time. Tooth surfaces are smothered with fluoride, and any escaping fluoride is not necessarily a welcome taste for the child having the treatment. However, when the solution stays in a tray where primarily placed, the treatment is better tolerated and less likely to provoke a gag response.

Trays must be comfortable and sized appropriately to ensure coverage. Using a large tray in a small mouth just won’t do. The oversized tray will hang over the lips and the anterior portion will protrude out of the mouth, not contacting the teeth and dripping fluoride all over the chin. Likewise, a small tray used on a large mouth will not provide full coverage to the molars that need the preventive application. Many brands of fluoride trays are available in a variety of sizes, which makes selecting a suitable tray less of a guess.

Disposable trays provide cushiony comfort. They are uniquely constructed from molded foam with indentations deep enough to hold the fluoride. Maxillary and mandibular arches may be treated at the same time with dual-arch trays. The Discovery fluoride foam tray by Kerr offers a dual-arch design in color-coded shades of aqua, yellow, lime, and blue. The fitted trays are intended for simultaneous arch treatment. The dual foam trays have a soft lining bonded to a firmer outer shell, which helps hold fluoride next to the tooth surface and push it interproximally during the treatment process.

Hinged Benefits

There are trays with connectors or hinges that secure the maxillary and mandibular trays together. This design makes the tray’s exit from the mouth smoother once treatment is completed. Sultan Healthcare’s Topex dual-arch tray features locking handles. When placed in the mouth, the top seated tray and bottom tray can be fed together and joined like a simple buckle. These trays have molded occlusal anatomy that serves as a reservoir for the fluoride to sit near surfaces to be treated. Sultan also offers a soft, lined tray with locking handles, which is especially kind to the gingiva.

One of the criteria in choosing a fluoride tray for professional application is that it retain fluoride well and thus help to avoid ingestion of the product. Runny fluoride accidentally ingested may cause tummy troubles. With this in mind, choose a tray that is the appropriate size and has a vacuum-type seal at the gingiva. This will help keep saliva from entering the mix. Oral-B has applicator trays not only for dual-arch application (Centwins), but also single-arch (Centrays) with a fit that is naturally deeply contoured to contact tooth surfaces. Because of the smooth ridge on the tray, patient comfort is enhanced and fluoride overflow from the tray is inhibited.

Fluoride treatments may not always prove to be pleasurable for the panicky patient, but the fun designs of Oral-B Funtrays help to distract from the experience. These fluoride applicators have eye-catching graphics with each size tray sporting different images. Small trays have safari animals, smiling dinosaurs, and hearts with teddy bears. Medium trays are white with imprints of sports themes, smiley faces, and fanciful fruit. The large size has seashells, musical instruments, and stars and planets. When you can’t decide which Funtrays to order, try the variety bundle of 50 trays available in assorted motifs.

GUM Crayola fluoride trays come in a fun pack from Sunstar Americas. The disposable trays are kid-sized in bright yellow and orange, and cleverly packaged in a dark blue drawstring backpack for easy storage.

Each year, it is estimated that millions of dogs and cats are euthanized in American animal shelters. Shelters offer an amazing mix of pets in need of caring owners. Some of the pets available for adoption are of pure breeds, while others are one-of-a-kinds. Though fluoride trays may appear to be very similar and run of the mill, they each have unique qualities as well. Consider whether you desire single- or dual-arch delivery and disposable trays with molded foam with or without a cushion insert. Adopting a disposable fluoride tray is as important as the preventive product chosen to be dispensed.

The author did not receive compensation for products mentioned. If you want to look into adopting a new tray, visit,,,, or

About the Author

Karen Kaiser, RDH, graduated from St. Louis’ Forest Park dental hygiene program in 1994 and currently practices at the Center for Contemporary Dentistry in Columbia, Ill. She has written several articles for RDH and other publications, sits on dental hygiene panels, and is an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates. She can be contacted at [email protected].