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Waterpik UltraThin Fluoride Varnish and 3M ESPE Omni Vanish 5% NaF Varnish Clinical Characteristics


Waterpik® UltraThin Fluoride Varnish is a 5% sodium fluoride varnish indicated for the treatment of dentinal hypersensitivity and as a cavity varnish. Teeth must be wiped with 2 x 2 inch gauze before application of UltraThin Fluoride Varnish. After stirring the varnish thoroughly, apply a thin, even coat to the desired tooth surfaces, and let dry for 10 seconds. Instruct the patient to close their mouth so the varnish can harden on contact with saliva. Post-application instructions are to only ingest soft foods and cold liquids for two hours after treatment [see Editors’ Note]. UltraThin Fluoride Varnish is available in a 0.40-ml unit-dose package with a disposable applicator brush.


The purpose of this study was to determine how UltraThin Fluoride Varnish (A) compares to 3M ESPE Omni Vanish 5% NaF Varnish (B). Both products were assessed in a blind study on each of the following features: ease of dispensing, ease of mixing, ease of application, smoothness of coating, thoroughness of coat, setting time, color after set, and taste.

Evaluation Protocol

  • Three dentists, four hygienists, and five dental assistants utilized both products clinically, following manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Six restoration-free adult patients had A and B varnish applied to their teeth using a spilt-mouth design. Teeth #5-12 were treated with varnish A and teeth #21-28 were treated with varnish B.
  • After each application the clinician and patient completed a survey and evaluated the characteristics of each varnish.
  • Categories were rated on a 1-5 scale: 1=poor, 2=fair, 3=good, 4=very good, 5=excellent.

Clinical Results

Clinical Observations

UltraThin Fluoride Varnish
The consistency of UltraThin Fluoride Varnish was the characteristic most liked by participants. Its viscosity made it easy to apply a thin, smooth, well dispersed coat. Many clinicians reported the varnish was easy to use and that the instructions were simple. The lack of color after set and pleasant taste were also rated highly by the patients. UltraThin Fluoride Varnish rated high in thoroughness of coating, although some consultants commented that after the material set it seemed to slough off the tooth surface and pool at the cervical area. Due to the thin viscosity of UltraThin Fluoride Varnish some participants had concerns about retention on the treated teeth.

3M ESPE Omni Vanish 5% NaF Varnish
The most liked feature of this product was that it appeared to stay on the tooth after it set due to the thickness of the material. However, the high viscosity of Omni Vanish resulted in clinicians finding it hard to achieve a smooth coating on the tooth and difficult to apply. The most common negative comment was that the material was subject to contamination because the varnish required mixing on the outside of the package, which was not considered an appropriately clean area. Patients commented that the scent and taste of the varnish were not desirable and that the varnish felt uncomfortably thick on their teeth once the material was set.


Overall, clinicians preferred the features of UltraThin Fluoride Varnish to Omni Vanish. Although Omni Vanish appeared to stay on the teeth better, UltraThin Fluoride Varnish performed the same or better in all categories. Ease of dispensing and mixing and application of a uniform coat of Waterpik® UltraThin Fluoride Varnish were rated as excellent, and the color after set and the taste also were rated highly.Editors’ Note: UltraThin Fluoride Varnish was evaluated as a pre-market product under the name of Water Pik Varnish. The instructions have changed to reflect a dry time of 20 seconds and a soft food/cold drink restriction of four hours.