What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an FDA-approved antibiotic liquid clinically applied to control active dental caries and prevent further progression of disease. While the ideal way to treat teeth with decay is by removing the decay and placing a restoration, this alternative treatment allows us to stop decay with noninvasive methods, particularly with young children that have baby teeth.

How does Silver Diamine Fluoride work?

SDF is composed of two primary components: silver and fluoride. Silver acts as an anti-microbial agent that simultaneously strengthens the underlying protective layer of your teeth called dentin. Fluoride is the active ingredient that puts a stop to tooth decay and helps prevent additional decay from appearing.

During your child’s visit, your dentist will brush and rinse their teeth without paste to prepare for the treatment. Your child’s teeth will then be dried and any debris, such as plaque, will be removed. SDF is applied to the affected teeth with a microbrush and the solution is allowed to cure on the tooth for two minutes. Once the tooth has been treated, we advise patients not to eat or drink or at least an hour to allow it to cure.

When is Silver Diamine Fluoride recommended?

There are several situations in which it may be recommend. Those include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Children who may have excessive decay (severe early childhood caries)
  • Young children who have difficulty cooperating for treatment
  • Children with carious lesions that may not all be treated in one visit
  • Special Needs Patients: Children and Adults

PBS Video: New method of treating tooth decay using Silver Nitrate Flouride may make the pain and expense of traditional treatments obsolete.

What are the benefits?

SDF is a particularly effective fluoride treatment for kids whose cavities cannot otherwise be treated at one time. We may also recommend SDF for children with disabilities or those who are unable to sit for longer cavity treatments. Benefits to this technique:

  • No Anesthesia Risk Because It’s Not Used
  • Non-Invasive & Painless
  • Quick Treatment Time
  • Effective Cavity Prevention
  • Relieves Tooth Sensitivity
  • Cost Effective

Are there risks associated with Silver Diamine Fluoride?

There are some risks associated with it, which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • SDF will cause black staining of tooth decay, but this can easily be masked with conventional tooth colored dental filling for aesthetic purposes. Healthy tooth structure will not stain. SDF may discolor dental fillings and crowns.
  • Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure the success of the treatment. But there is a possibility that the procedure will not stop the decay. If the tooth decay is not arrested, the decay will progress and further dental treatment will be required.

SDF treatment is considered extremely safe and effective with little adverse reactions reported. If you are interested in finding out if your child can benefit from SDF, please contact us for an appointment.