FluoriMax Varnish: A Personal Experience
This is an original blog post from Dr. Gupreet Sidhu, D.D.S., Langley, BC
Haley came to me three years ago and said she had a great lunch where she learned about a new Fluoride varnish she had a chance to try from Oral Science. It was different in its general makeup because it didn’t have the tacky feel most varnishes have. Up to that point, we had been mostly using a traditional PCxx thixotropic 1.23% APF gel. Generally, patients were okay with it, but we always had a fair number of patients who declined fluoride because of taste concerns, upset stomachs, not being able to eat for 30 minutes afterward, or even just general discomfort with the procedure. It was always something I was aware of at the office (Lighthouse Dental Centre), but from the time I was in dental school, this was still considered the preferred method of Fluoride application.
From a time-efficiency perspective, I’ve always felt gel fluoride hasn’t been the best product for several reasons:
- The entire process takes about 4-5 minutes by the time you sit up the patient, choose the proper trays, load the gel, and allow the patient to expectorate for 30-60 seconds afterwards.
- When running a busy practice, if I’m coming in for an exam, and it’s the start of the Fluoride application, then I’m waiting, and consequently, my other patient is waiting for me to return as well.
- The hygienist frequently only has 60 minutes to review the patient’s medical history, probe teeth, take X-rays, complete the cleaning, prophy, floss, wait for the exam, clean the room, and set up for the next patient. Every minute counts.
We used several varnishes, but the varnish we predominantly used was a 3M product called Vanish. We generally would use this on patients that declined the gel or had a high incidence of cavities. Vanish comes in a Unidose package, which inherently increases the CPP (Cost per patient), but it does have some great properties like a 24-hour Fluoride release time, easy application, and no need to dry the teeth. It also worked great with sensitivity along the gum line, but almost all patients would comment on how the teeth did not feel “clean” afterward because of the tackiness caused by the pine tree sap ingredient known as colophony or rosin.
I say all the above to say this: My hygienists and I have been looking for a product with all the positive attributes I’ve mentioned without the drawbacks that retract from the patient experience.
Then, along came Fluorimax.
Oral Science does a great job explaining what Colophony-free means in terms of product thickness, but in our real-world application, what it really means is a much better patient experience. The food-grade shellac allows the application to be very thin and virtually invisible. We use this product on 100% of our patients, and through the thousands of hygiene patients we’ve seen, not a single patient has complained or has not been able to tolerate the Fluoride application.
Like Vanish, the Shellac works well for hypersensitivity, and we have had great success with using it before an ultrasonic cleaning to decrease sensitivity and discomfort during instrumentation.
In terms of the time it takes to apply, the CDA and hygienist can apply the fluoride in under a minute, making it much more efficient for the practice. Because of the thinness, I can do an exam any time before or after the application.
We generally use two flavours: mint and bubble gum. As expected, the kids love bubble gum, and most adults prefer mint. As an alternative, a caramel flavour is also available. Along the way, we certainly found it’s very important to follow directions and shake the bottle for 15 seconds before dispensing the Fluoride to prevent settling. If we don’t do that, patients will notice an acidic taste from the application, but once the Fluoride is properly mixed, it’s quite pleasant for the patient. They really love the fact that they can eat and brush regularly after the appointment. Dental professionals all have those patients who get so hungry in the chair, and they want to get out to grab a snack right away!
Concerning cost with 585 drops in a single bottle, it is incredibly cost-effective, and it decreases the associated hygiene overhead. Each patient is slightly different, so we can dial in how much varnish we want to dispense per patient.
I recently took over a second dental office (Blue Water Dental) that has an established patient base of over 40 years. Both hygienists have been practicing for decades, and they love this product so much it took only one day of application to realize that this was going to be the future of our hygiene program. With it being more comfortable, it has undoubtedly enhanced patient compliance.
Numerous times, we had patients who always denied Fluoride application, who are now converted to Fluoride users after we’ve convinced them to try Fluorimax. It truly is different than anything on the market.
One of my favourite quotes, “None of us are smarter than all of us,” is a principle that has helped our business grow. By listening to others who have been on a similar path in growth and development, we’ve been able to evolve. I approached Oral science to give my authentic feedback on their product to reach a broader audience to hopefully help other dentists and practice owners enhance their services for their patients and increase efficiency and profitability.