Using Silver Diamine Fluoride To Treat Your Child’s Cavities

Your child’s dental health is just important to you as your own. So you probably feel panicked and disappointed when a cavity suddenly develops in your young child’s mouth.

Cavities sometimes develop, even with the best preventative efforts. But you don’t need to feel defeated. Your child’s pediatric dentist in Vista, California offers multiple cavity treatment options to restore your child’s smile back to perfect health.

Ask your dentist about silver diamine fluoride, an alternative cavity treatment rapidly growing in popularity. Unlike traditional cavity treatments that require painful, loud, scary drills, silver diamine is a painless topical solution that stops cavities in their tracks.

What Causes Cavities?

Cavities develop in your child’s mouth when bacteria, acid, and sugar spend too much time on the teeth. They blend to create plaque and tartar, which eat away at the white enamel of the teeth. Over time, tiny holes develop that turn into larger cavities.

If left untreated, the hole of decay becomes more severe, eventually causing infection and tooth loss. This is why it’s so important to treat cavities as soon as they’re identified. The recent FDA approval of silver diamine fluoride makes it easier than ever before to quickly and effectively treat your child’s cavities and get back to your normal routine.

What Is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a topical liquid used to treat cavities. It’s formulated with silver, water, fluoride, and ammonia. SDF is used on decaying or high-risk teeth to prevent and block the spread of cavities.

SDF is often compared to the fluoride varnish applied to healthy teeth at the end of a child’s dentist exam. However, SDF is twice as strong as standard fluoride varnish. Its higher potency is essential to stop decay in its tracks. Each ingredient plays an important role:

  • Silver ions act as antimicrobial agents to displace bacteria and pathogens responsible for decay

  • Ammonia increases concentration

  • Fluoride prevents the development of decay

SDF has been used in Japan for more than 80 years, but it was only recently approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration in 2014. As a parent, you’ve probably never been treated with SDF, but it could prove very valuable for your child’s oral health.

Using SDF to Treat Your Child’s Cavities

Every patient at All Smiles Children’s Dentistry receives regular fluoride treatments to prevent cavities from forming on the mouth. SDF is different because it’s only used when traditional fluoride isn’t enough. SDF stops existing cavities from becoming worse and spreading to nearby teeth.

To dentists like Dr. Houri, this process is known as “caries resonance.” SDF offers a safe, painless, and simple alternative to drilling, so it’s perfect for children of all ages. Consider these benefits of silver diamine fluoride:

  • Kills bacteria known to eat away at tooth surfaces

  • Blocks cavity-causing bacteria from spreading

  • Provides a comfortable, less frightening alternative to dental drills

In fact, hundreds of case studies prove that SDF is a safe and effective treatment. It even allows dentists to treat cavities in children with severe dental anxiety, young patients who cannot undergo standard cavity treatment with a drill, and children at very high risk of aggressive dental decay.

The California Dental Association (CDA) agrees that SDF is “is particularly useful for providing dental care to individuals who present challenges to receiving traditional treatment because of their age, behavioral issues, or medical conditions.”

Important Considerations and FAQs

Despite its many benefits, silver diamine fluoride does present one unique obstacle: it causes permanent black stains on the decayed area of the treated tooth. There’s no way to prevent this black staining. Fortunately, the stains are very easy to cover with tooth-colored filling material.

With the help of small tooth-colored fillings after SDF treatment, nobody will be able to see the black stains on your child’s treated teeth. It’s also important to consider that most teeth treated with SDF are primary baby teeth. This means the teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced by white, healthy, permanent adult teeth.

The CDA also emphasizes that regular follow up is important to determine “if SDF retreatment is needed, but also to access if additional or alternative dental treatment is required.” The success rates of SDF treatment are high, says the CDA, but not 100%.

Make sure you turn to an experienced pediatric dentist like Dr. Houri at All Smiles Children’s Dentistry in Vista, CA. Dr. Houri specializes in the use of SDF to treat cavities and knows exactly how to stop decay before it gets worse. Call Dr. Houri and her team today at (760) 734-4400 to learn more and schedule an appointment.

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