Silver Diamine Fluoride
How Does Silver Diamine Fluoride Work?
In scientific terms, silver diamine fluoride acts as an antimicrobial “medicine” that stops cavities from growing by killing the bacteria and making the tooth harder. SDF stops the bacteria from eating away at the tooth and making a bigger cavity in 70-90% of treated teeth. Teeth treated with SDF need to be checked by a dentist at least every six months to make sure the tooth decay has been stopped.
How Is a Cavity Treated with Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Silver Diamine Fluoride is applied to a dry tooth with a small brush. Treatment takes about one minute for each tooth being treated. Afterwards, we will ask your child not to eat or drink anything for one hour. There is a metallic taste to SDF and some children will have mild irritation of the gums that will heal by itself in a couple of days. A second application will be needed two to four weeks after the first one. In some instances, Dr. Justin and Dr. Joni may recommended additional treatments to stop the cavity from getting bigger if the tooth does not respond to SDF after only two treatments.
Is Silver Diamine Fluoride Safe?
Yes. According to the evidence-based clinical guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, SDF is very safe. It has been used in Japan for over 40 years, Australia for over 10 years, and in the United States since 2014. Using SDF to treat your child’s cavities can postpone or prevent the need for general anesthesia, especially in very young patients.
Is it True SDF Turns the Teeth Black?
Cavities treated with silver diamine fluoride turn black, the teeth do not. The color change is permanent, lasting the life of the tooth or until the tooth is treated with a traditional white filling or crown. Cavities treated with SDF on the back teeth are not as noticeable as cavities treated with SDF on the front teeth. If the SDF liquid gets on the lips or skin, it will leave a dark stain for a few days.
Are There Any Reasons SDF Should Not Be Used?
Yes. If your child has a silver allergy, SDF is contra-indicated. Also, if cavities are so big they involve the pulp tissue, or nerve tissue, SDF should not be used. Talk with Dr. Justin and Dr. Joni to see if silver diamine fluoride is an option for your child.