Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)
Unfortunately, tooth decay is the most common preventable childhood disease. Traditional methods of treating minor cavities in primary (baby) teeth typically involve drilling out the affected area and using various materials to fill the cavity. Even with the gentlest of care, some level of pain or discomfort may be experienced. Our office seeks to provide conservative and gentle treatment wherever possible, and Silver Diamine Flouride (SDF) allows us to do this.
What is SDF Treatment?
SDF is a blue antimicrobial liquid used to fight tooth cavities in children. This liquid contains fluoride and silver ions, and when it’s brushed onto cavities, it kills bacteria, stopping tooth decay. SDF is FDA approved.
While there are other methods of treating cavities in children, SDF is preferable because it is a quick and easy process that involves no pain or discomfort as there’s no need for the injection of an anesthetic. For over 80% of smaller cavities, we encounter, SDF is the only treatment required. For larger cavities in younger children, SDF keeps cavities from progressing until other treatment options may be considered that would offer more permanent results. Finally, SDF helps to remineralize the natural tooth structure.
How is the Treatment Performed?
The entire process does not exceed two minutes in our rooms. One of our experienced staff members uses a brush dipped in SDF to paint the cavity. The silver in the liquid then gets to work, killing all the bacteria present, while the fluoride works to remineralize the tooth. After application of Silver Diamine Fluoride, the cavity will darken and the decayed area will harden; both of these are signs that the decay has arrested. This application is quick, painless, and non-invasive—ideal for young, fearful, or pre-cooperative children. Teeth which have been treated with Silver Diamine Fluoride may still need a dental restoration to restore the function and esthetics of the tooth; however, this can often be accomplished without local anesthetic or removal of tooth structure.