Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) Information
Why do we recommend SDF?
SDF is an antibacterial liquid made of fluoride and silver ions that stops cavities from growing by making the tooth harder. It limits the bacteria that causes decay. Applying SDF is quick and comfortable for the child who is anxious. Because SDF keeps decay from getting worse, fixing the teeth can be put off until a child is older or has an easier time sitting through treatment.
What is the treatment like?
SDF is painted on the cavity with a small brush and takes about 2 minutes. Best of all, the procedure does not hurt and requires no drilling or injections of anesthetic. The treatment has a metallic taste and can sometimes cause a mild irritation to the gums that will heal by itself in a few days.
Does SDF work to stop tooth decay?
YES! Based on clinical trials, SDF works to stop cavities from growing in 70-90% of treated teeth. Teeth treated with SDF need to be checked by a dentist at least every 6 months for reapplication.
Is it true SDF turns teeth black?
Cavities treated with SDF turn black, the teeth do not. This color change is permanent until the definitive treatment is rendered. As your child gets older and behavior and/or health improves, fillings or crowns may be placed on the teeth to cover the discoloration.
Why treat cavities in baby teeth?
Cavities in baby teeth can grow fast and cause pain and infection. Cavities are caused by bacteria and can spread to other teeth! As cavities get larger, the nerve of the tooth can become infected and lead to pain and infection. Baby teeth also hold space for the proper placement of the permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, it may mean a crooked smile in the child’s future.
You should not be treated with Silver Diamine Fluoride if:
● You are allergic to silver
● Cavities are so large that they involve the nerve of the tooth
● There are open sores or ulcers in your child’s mouth
Important things to know about the SDF treatment:
● If SDF touches the lips or skin when a patient moves too much during the applications, it will leave a dark stain for a few days. Using a salt water slurry (think sugar scrub consistency), hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball, or hair dye remover will help remove the stains quicker from your child’s skin if you choose.
● SDF needs to be re-applied every 6 months for the effects to continue until fillings or crowns can be done.