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Module 4: Anticipatory Guidance, Fluoride Varnish, and Referral

4.3 Fluoride Varnish Application

Used with permission from Suzanne Boulter, M.D., Concord Hospital, Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency.

Fluoride varnish application is simple. Once a medical provider has sufficient practice, application takes approximately 40 to 60 seconds.

Infants and young children typically resist fluoride varnish application. Fortunately, however, most 9-month-olds have eight or fewer teeth, all of which are anterior teeth, so access is easy, especially if the infant is crying. Older children who have had previous fluoride varnish applications may be more cooperative because they know what to expect.

Supplies needed to apply fluoride varnish include:

  • Disposable gloves (preferably non-latex)
  • Paper towel or disposable bib
  • 2" x 2" gauze sponges
  • Fluoride varnish (preferably single-dose containers)
  • Disposable mouth mirror (optional)