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Optimizing Fluoride

Oct. 1, 2010
3M ESPE adds tri-calcium phosphate to Vanish varnish

3M ESPE adds tri-calcium phosphate to Vanish varnish

by Ellen Neuenfeldt, RDH, BS

Fluoride varnishes are frequently included in the dental hygiene preventive protocol, but as we know, all varnishes are not the same. In fact, several breakthroughs have recently been made that demonstrate how fluoride can be enhanced to make it even more effective. Approaches to this fluoride enhancement have varied; for example, 3M ESPE has developed a varnish formulation that uses a proprietary technology to cover more tooth surfaces. In other words, it helps the varnish to flow better interproximally and across tooth surfaces.

This proprietary technology can be found in Vanish 5% Sodium Fluoride White Varnish with Tri-Calcium Phosphate (TCP). This technology helps the varnish deliver more protection to the teeth to relieve sensitivity. Hygienists will find it provides even more value to their patients than our previous varnish.

The power of TCP

Vanish white varnish with TCP is based on the existing formulation of Vanish varnish, which has five years of proven clinical success. This new version of Vanish varnish has been improved with the addition of modified tri-calcium phosphate, an ingredient that is exclusive to 3M ESPE. This improved formulation delivers fluoride, phosphate, and calcium – components that are naturally found in healthy saliva, which have long been associated with maintaining healthy teeth.

To make the combination of fluoride, phosphate, and calcium more effective, a protective barrier is created around the calcium during the manufacturing process, which allows it to coexist with the fluoride without reacting. Once the varnish is applied to a patient's teeth, it comes into contact with saliva, which breaks down the protective barrier. This results in calcium, phosphate, and fluoride ions being available to the teeth.

Hygienists may also be familiar with tri-calcium phosphate, since it is an ingredient in Clinpro 5000 1.1% Sodium Fluoride Anti-Cavity toothpaste. It exhibits greater fluoride uptake and re-mineralization than select prescription strength toothpastes, yet is less abrasive (visit for prescribing information). Toothpastes that are highly abrasive can damage enamel and dentin over time; and are of special concern in patients with exposed root surface areas.

Flowing for more protection

Many dental professionals are not aware that the manner in which a varnish works in the environment of the mouth makes a big difference in its effectiveness. This is why Vanish white varnish is formulated for flowability in addition to its optimized fluoride. Typical fluoride varnish products react with tooth structure so quickly that they may not be able to continue flowing beneath the surface layer. Once applied by the hygienist, the Vanish white varnish adheres to areas where it is applied, yet stays fluid longer and continues to flow from treated to untreated tooth surfaces beneath the surface layer, including interproximal areas, which traditional varnishes may miss.

Because of this ability to flow across and between teeth, more varnish reaches more tooth surfaces, making increased amounts of fluoride available. Clinical studies show that Vanish white varnish flows to more than twice as many tooth surfaces after application.1 This process enables Vanish white varnish to continuously release fluoride and calcium over the life of the varnish – up to 24 hours. Even after patients leave the office, the varnish continues to reach new areas in the mouth.

This formulation helps make Vanish white varnish highly effective in eliminating dentin sensitivity, as it covers, occludes, and penetrates dentinal tubules. Hygienists are familiar with the hydrodynamic conductance theory, which states that hypersensitivity occurs when the tubules in dentin are exposed, causing fluid within the tubules to move and allowing the nerve endings in the pulp to come into contact with stimuli in the oral cavity. This movement creates pressure on the nerves, resulting in the perception of pain. With Vanish white varnish, however, the tubules are protected and fluid does not flow, giving patients immediate relief from dentin hypersensitivity.

With its ease of use and outstanding performance, Vanish White Varnish with Tri-Calcium Phosphate makes this varnish even better, which both you and your patients will undoubtedly appreciate.

Ellen Neuenfeldt, RDH, BS, is the 3M ESPE Professional Relations manager for preventive products.

1. 3M ESPE internal data

Simple to use on "toothbrush clean" teeth

This product is very easy to apply in the dental office, helping hygienists maintain productivity while offering patients effective treatments. The tooth surfaces only need to be "toothbrush clean," meaning the product can be applied if slight plaque is present.

Simply sweep the varnish on the tooth surface in one thin coat. It sets in the presence of saliva, and as previously stated, its enhanced flow characteristics allow it to reach interproximal areas. The varnish is white in color when applied to the tooth, so it is virtually invisible. Patients can go about their day after leaving the office with this treatment still in action for hours afterward.

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