SILVER DIAMINE FLUORIDE
Did you know there’s an alternate treatment option for cavities aside from traditional fillings? Silver diamine fluoride (or SDF) is a liquid that we can apply to a cavity to stop decay from spreading. It’s a great way for us to delay having to drill a tooth until the child is older and more comfortable with the procedure or is more able to tolerate sedation. If a cavity is found in a baby tooth, we can simply apply SDF and wait for the tooth to fall out on its own, completely avoiding the need for a filling.
Can silver diamine fluoride help prevent cavities or reverse cavities?
Direct application of SDF to healthy tooth surfaces can help prevent cavities. It is about four times as effective as a fluoride treatment, though not quite as effective as sealants. It’s also a great option to decrease the advancement of decay that already exists. SDF can help “freeze” it and stop further progression.
Who is silver diamine fluoride good for?
SDF is ideal for young children with cavities in their baby teeth. Even though the baby teeth will fall out, we need to protect them and keep them healthy until then! Treating them with silver diamine fluoride is sufficient in many cases. SDF is great for teenagers who have small cavities (incipient caries). Instead of just keeping an eye on them, we can now actually stop them from getting bigger.
SDF is also wonderful for those who have anxiety about drilling, for those with special needs, or for those who are unable to come in for regular six-month checkups. Although we always advise keeping these appointments, sometimes life circumstances make this difficult. Yearly applications of SDF can help keep cavities at bay if you can’t come in for a professional cleaning as often.
Is silver diamine fluoride safe?
Yes. SDF is made of silver (which helps kill bacteria), ammonia (keeps the solution concentrated so it’s super effective), fluoride (necessary for tooth remineralization), and water. Silver diamine fluoride was approved for use more than 80 years ago in Japan, and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014.