For both parents and children, discovering cavities can be overwhelming and heartbreaking. The typical treatment of drilling and filling can be a process some parents want to avoid or delay due to age and cooperation of young children. Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is an alternative to treating cavities. SDF was approved in Canada in 2017, however in other countries, like Japan, Australia and China, has been used for many years with great outcomes and success. Understanding more about this minimally-invasive treatment where needles and drilling are not required can be helpful in deciding whether or not it’s best for your child and their teeth!
So What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?
SDF is an antibiotic liquid substance that can be used to help prevent cavities from developing, becoming worse, or spreading to other teeth and is also used to treat tooth sensitivity.
It is comprised of silver, which acts as the anti-bacterial component, and fluoride, which helps strengthen the tooth and rebuild the tooth structure.
How is Silver Diamine Fluoride Applied?
SDF is applied, in a matter of seconds, topically using a small brush or floss.
- Teeth will be cleaned to ensure the greatest contact with the SDF and the tooth structure.
- Skin may be susceptible to staining, so Vaseline is applied and a cotton gauze may be used as well.
- The affected area will be dried prior to application.
- The SDF will dry for 1 minute.
- Fluoride varnish is applied to seal in the SDF over the cavity.
- Typically a follow up visit after the initial treatment is recommended to ensure the effectiveness of the SDF. SDF application every 6-12 months can be necessary.
- It is expected that the SDF-treated cavity has turned dark and hard.
What are the Advantaged of Silver Diamine Fluoride?
SDF is fast, easy and non-invasive. SDF can help stop tooth decay and help relive any tooth sensitivity your child may be experiencing.
Who Would Benefit from Silver Diamine Fluoride?
- Small infants and toddlers: SDF can help aide in the progression of the cavity until treatment, like filling. drilling or crowns are possible or until the baby tooth falls out.
- Older children: SDF can prevent a cavity on a baby tooth from spreading to an adjacent adult tooth.
- Patients that are unable to complete treatment on cavities.
- Patients that are at a high risk to cavities
Talk to Your Dentist About Silver Diamine Fluoride.
SDF may be a part of a good treatment plan for managing your child’s cavities or preventing them, especially for younger children or those with limited cooperation. Talking to your pediatric dentist is always best to understand if SDF is the best option for your child. Here at Lolo Pediatric Dentistry we always want what is best for our patients and ensuring they are cared for.