Fluorosis is tooth damage.
The opaque white spots and brown ugly discoloration on the teeth of the young lady pictured here (one of my patients) is a case of dental fluorosis resulting from fluoridation.
The structural damage to her fluorotic teeth can never be repaired. The cosmetic damage can only be corrected by replacing the fluorotic enamel with porcelain veneers and crowns at a cost of $600 per tooth times 28 teeth or about $16,000 for this young lady. Replacement of crowns and reapplication of the veneers could bring the lifetime cost of repairing this damage to $30,000 or more. On average, 10 teeth will be affected that will need repair at a cost of $6000 initially and at least $15,000 over a lifetime.
As a result of fluoridation, 150,000 children (30% of the approximately 500,000 children at each 1 -year age group) will fall victim to dental fluorosis each year. This will result in an initial cost of $6000 X 150,000 or 900 million dollars per year! As maintenance is added in over a lifetime, this figure will increase to 3.3 billion dollars per year, in 1995 dollars, after 70 years, assuming the population of children does not change. And remember, this only corrects for cosmetic damage. The structural damage resulting from dental fluorosis can never be repaired. Nor can the psychological damage that results from these unsightly teeth.
To make things worse, we have known for years that malnourished and minority children are most susceptible to dental fluorosis. In 1952, Maury Massler and Isaac Schour, two of the most prestigious dentists in the United States at that time, published a paper showing that while well-nourished children drinking fluoridated water experienced a dental fluorosis rate of 25%, poorly nourished children experienced a fluorosis rate of 60% (Journal of the American Dental Association 44:156165 (1952)).
If you really want to dramatically reduce tooth decay, pass a bill that enables a team of hygienist to apply sealants to the vulnerable biting surfaces of the permanent teeth. Make this quality care available for every child in California at a fraction of the cost you are now paying to treat dental disease. Sealants seal out decay before it destroys the integrity of the tooth. This method is 100% successful in preventing decay where the sealant remains intact.(Simonsen JADA 100:535-539, 1980) If it wears off then just reseal the tooth again. No drilling, no mutilation, no shots, no trauma, no tears, no disease. Why are we not doing this already you ask?
A licensed dentist or the hygienist under the supervision of a dentist must apply the sealant. Many insurance companies will not pay for sealants including welfare. The cost is relatively high since the dentist and attendant overhead must be compensated. This proven technology is noninvasive, requires no shots or drilling and produces no harmful side effects.
David Kennedy, D.D.S.