Parents Guide To Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)

Imagine if your child could have a cavity stopped by applying a mineral to their tooth. While good oral hygiene and toothpaste with fluoride can help prevent the spread of cavity-causing bacteria from spreading, it does not treat active cavities. Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is the only thing that can stop cavities from spreading.

What’s Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Fluoride, which is similar to calcium, is a naturally occurring mineral found in many foods. Fluoride is also monitored in low levels by municipal water systems. When it’s time to put concentrated fluoride on teeth, the benefits include strengthening and stopping decay.

Silver diamine fluoride, also known as SDF, contains additional ingredients that kill bacteria and remineralize enamel to make it more effective against cavities than other fluoride gels.

SDF can prevent enamel from deteriorating further if applied at the right time during cavity development. SDF can be used even after a small cavity is formed. If your child has a baby tooth that has a small cavity, but is not able to complete a filling or crown treatment, silver diamine fluoride can be a good option. Sometimes the lesion is small enough that SDF can be used to prevent a filling altogether.

Silver Diamine Fluoride

Cavities can be prevented by early intervention. As long as we catch tooth decay early enough, silver diamine fluoride treatments may be able replace the usual filling. It is more likely that it will be performed by our Vista pediatric dentist after cleaning out the area of decay. Although drilling is not necessary, the surface may be etched or lightly abraded before the SDF can be applied. This makes treatment easier and more affordable for you and your family.

Who needs Silver Diamine Fluoride Treatments?

If your child has severe dental problems or an excessive amount of early decay, Dr. Houri might recommend silver diamine fluoride. SDF is typically used for primary/baby teeth in children as young as three years old. It’s a great way to avoid more invasive procedures. This also means that your child doesn’t need to have any injections or drilling inside of their mouth. No physical fillings are actually put into their cavities.

Silver diamine fluoride is an alternative to invasive fillings for young patients who may find it difficult to remain still for a filling appointment.

Although primary (baby), teeth eventually get replaced by permanent adult teeth, losing them too soon can cause problems in your child’s dental development. It is important to get rid of cavities as soon as possible, as they can lead to tooth loss. Silver diamine fluoride’s immediate benefits help “buy time”, so to speak, until the baby teeth can be replaced with adult ones.

Are permanent adult teeth able to use SDF? Sometimes. It depends on the type of tooth, the severity of the lesion and the location of the cavity. A small white filling might be a better option depending on the risk factors. Our Vista pediatric dentist will discuss her recommendations with parents so you can make informed decisions about your child’s smile.

Some Things to Remember

Due to the formation silver oxide, it is quite common to see staining of SDF-treated teeth. The stain is usually quite dark and can’t be removed like other buildup. Permanent discoloration will remain in the same area. This is why you should typically only use this treatment for non-visible primary (baby), teeth.

Silver Diamine Fluoride Treatment for Vista

Silver Diamine Fluoride treatment could help your child avoid a filling. To find out, schedule an appointment with Dr. Houri. To determine if no-filling is best for your child, we’ll examine the depth of the cavity. For more information, call today!

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