What is SDF?
Our office has started using a material called silver diamine fluoride (SDF) to help treat tooth decay. Silver diamine fluoride can arrest dental decay because of it’s specific components. The silver component has antibacterial properties which stop the spread of a cavity, while the fluoride component helps to remineralize tooth structure. SDF can be effective in treating dental cavities with a variety of patients, but in particular, pediatric patients.
What can it be used for?
Silver diamine fluoride is not for every situation, as it does not permanently cure the area of decay. In order for it to continue to stop the spread of a cavity, it needs to be re-applied within six months of the first application. In addition, the silver antibacterial component stains the cavity surface a dark brown/black color. For these reasons, SDF is not routinely used for permanent treatment of cavities, but can be perfect for cavities that can not otherwise be treated. As mentioned earlier, pediatric patients often fall into this category. Whether it is due to young age, dental anxiety, or other reasons, SDF can act as a place holder until more permanent dental work can be completed.
How is it applied?
SDF can easily and quickly be applied by the dentist in a matter of minutes. The area will be cleaned and dried and the liquid goes directly on the surface of decay. Fluoride varnish is then applied directly over the surface of the teeth. The only follow up required is for reapplication in six months.
Silver diamine fluoride is not for every patient. Your dentist will carefully evaluate your teeth at your exam to determine if SDF is indicated or if there are more ideal treatment options for you. Feel free to ask your dentist about it at your next visit!