Silver Diamine Fluoride
Silver diamine fluoride, also known as “SDF”, is a topical medicine used to treat cavities.
The application of SDF is painless, fast, and non-invasive. Local anesthesia and removal of tooth structure are not required, making SDF a good treatment option for almost all patients, including those with the most severe dental anxiety.
SDF is also a great treatment for cavities in children who are too young for traditional filling or crown procedures. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends SDF as a treatment option for managing cavities in primary (baby) teeth.
Depending on where the cavity is located, SDF is applied using a small brush or spongy dental floss for approximately one minute. We recommend patients return 2-4 weeks later for a reapplication to increase the effectiveness of SDF.
SDF has one disadvantage in that it turns cavities black. Depending on the size and location of the cavity, this may not be a significant consideration. The staining is less noticeable in cavities that are in-between teeth, but may be a concern for cavities on other surfaces such as the front of teeth.
Note that SDF does not “fill” a cavity like a traditional filling. Instead, it works by preventing the cavity from becoming larger. By slowing the progression of the cavity, we:
- Allow time for patients to improve the tooth’s condition on their own, or
- Allow time for the baby tooth to fall out naturally, without ever having to place a traditional filling
Allergies to SDF are rare, and it is considered safe for almost all patients. Despite slowing the progression of cavities, SDF is not a cure. For cavities treated with SDF to be successful, brushing, flossing, and avoiding food/drink that cause cavities is crucial!
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