What is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride Varnish Prevents Cavities

Fluoride varnish is a concentrated paste painted directly to the tooth that repairs and strengthens enamel over time to prevent tooth decay. It is safe for teeth and only takes minutes to apply. Not only can fluoride varnish assist in preventing future cavities, it may even reverse cavities that have already started developing.

According to Louisiana law, if a child does not go to a dentist on a regular basis, and they are six months to five years old, a pediatrician or family medical provider may apply fluoride varnish at each wellness visit. 

Smiles for Life Program

The Smiles for Life Program educates providers to increase participation and the utilization rates of fluoride varnish applications in Louisiana. The program encourages primary care physicians, particularly pediatricians, to offer fluoride varnish applications and oral health education to age-appropriate patients and their parents.

In collaboration with Louisiana’s Medicaid office, the program seeks to increase:

  • Awareness of Louisiana’s Fluoride Varnish Policy
  • The number of Smiles for Life certified providers
  • The number of eligible children receiving fluoride varnish

Outreach is targeted to reach two specific populations: pediatricians and parents. This is achieved by:

  • Pediatrician outreach through Louisiana’s Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs)
  • Pediatrician outreach to targeted highly utilized Medicaid client areas
  • Parents, grandparents and caregiver outreach through the WellSpot Designation program, schools, school/community programs, WIC offices and mass promotion.

Who Can Apply Fluoride Varnish?

Disciplines that may apply fluoride varnish and be reimbursed in Louisiana include:

  • Appropriate dental providers
  • Physicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Registered nurses
  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Certified medical assistants

Physicians are responsible for providing training to participating staff to ensure competency in fluoride varnish applications.

Application Criteria for Eligibility

In a physician’s office, physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are eligible for reimbursement. In order to qualify, providers must review the “Smiles for Life” section for fluoride varnish and successfully pass the post assessment. Reimbursement requires physicians to complete the LDH “Smiles for Life” Certification in order to bill for fluoride varnish applications in offices.  

Fluoride Varnish Application Reimbursement

CPT code: 99188Application of Topical Fluoride Varnish
ICDM-10 code: Z41.8Need for Fluoride Varnish Application