Methods to deliver small amounts of fluoride throughout the day are still being developed. Currently, materials such as silicate and glass-ionomer cements that contain between 15% to 20% fluoride are being used, and this amount of fluoride is also being added to composite and amalgam fillings. The concept is that these materials could provide a reservoir of fluoride to prevent secondary caries and to help remineralize caries in adjacent surfaces. Fluoride release begins high, but reduces as the available reservoir depletes.1
Glass-ionomer cements are unique in that they are also able to absorb fluoride from other sources, such as toothpaste, and also slowly release this into the oral cavity, long after the fluoride that was originally placed in the glass-ionomer has dissipated. It should be noted, however, that clinical data on these methods of slow-release delivery have not yet confirmed the extent to which they are able to provide any therapeutic benefits.1
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