Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an FDA-approved topical solution that treats and prevents dental caries and reduces tooth sensitivity. It is made with two active ingredients: the silver component is an anti-microbial agent that kills bacteria and prevents the formation of new biofilm, and the fluoride prevents further demineralization (softening) of the tooth structure.
Treatment with SDF does not eliminate the potential need for restorative dentistry (fillings, crowns, etc.) to repair function or aesthetics, but it’s effective at preventing further decay.
SDF is a simple and noninvasive way to treat small carious lesions (cavities), and it can be done from the comfort of our dental office.
Why use SDF?
We recommend using SDF in several situations, including:
- Children who have extreme decay (severe early childhood caries)
- Young children who have difficulty sitting still for treatment
- Special needs patients
- Children with carious lesions (cavities) that need to be treated over several visits
The Advantages of SDF
- Provides immediate relief from tooth hypersensitivity
- Kills the organisms that cause cavities
- Hardens softened dentin, making it more acid- and abrasion-resistant
- Does not stain healthy dentin or enamel
What are the risks associated with Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Some mild risks are associated with SDF, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Decayed areas will be stained black. Healthy tooth structure will not stain. Dental fillings and crowns may also become stained. Eventually, stained tooth structures can be replaced with a filling or a crown.
- If SDF comes in contact with soft tissues such as the lips, gums, or cheeks, the affected area may become stained. The stain is harmless and will disappear within 1 to 3 weeks. It cannot be washed off.
- The patient may notice a metallic taste after an application. This will go away quickly.
- Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure the success of the treatment. There is a risk that the procedure will not stop the decay, and no guarantee of success is granted or implied. If the tooth decay is not stopped, the decay will progress. In that case, the tooth will require further dental treatment such as further Silver Diamine Fluoride application, dental fillings, root canal therapy, or extraction.
- These side effects may not include all the possible situations reported by the manufacturer. If you notice other effects, please contact your Children’s Dental Centre of Irving immediately.
You should not be treated with Silver Diamine Fluoride if:
- You are allergic to silver
- Painful sores or raw areas are present on the gums or anywhere in the mouth
What are the alternatives?
Some alternatives include, but are not limited to:
- No treatment, which may lead to an increase in sensitivity and/or discomfort as well as a worsening of the tooth structures and cosmetic appearance.
- Depending on the extent and location of the tooth decay, other options may include placement of fluoride varnish, a filling, crown, extraction, or referral for advanced treatment modalities with a specialist.
Silver Diamine Fluoride is a safe, effective children’s fluoride treatment that can help your child maintain a healthy smile for life.