A new cavity-fighting liquid… Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a liquid medication that can be used to arrest, or stop, tooth decay. Silver diamine fluoride has been approved by the FDA for tooth sensitivity, but it is also very useful “off-label” for the treatment of tooth decay. The active ingredient in silver diamine fluoride is silver, a compound used in medicine for over a century because of its potent antimicrobial properties. Interestingly, it is very effective at killing the bacteria that is known to cause tooth decay.
This is especially helpful in small children who are not mature enough to handle routine restorative care. Unlike other treatment methods used to treat tooth decay such as fillings, silver diamine fluoride is applied to the teeth with a brush. It takes less than 1 minute to apply with no noise, no drilling, and at the same time, it kills the bacteria that cause decay.
Alternative Treatment for Tooth Decay in Children
Silver diamine fluoride has been integrated into our practice for a variety of reasons. It can be a great option for very anxious children and it can be used on baby teeth that are nearing exfoliation, which spares unnecessary fillings or other extensive dental treatment on teeth that are on their way out. It is non-invasive and economical. The significant side effect of silver diamine fluoride is discoloration. Healthy tooth surfaces remain undisturbed, but tooth decay (which is usually brown in color) turns very dark, nearly black, after application. This discoloration is what we look for during follow-up appointments to know that the medication was effective.
If you would like more information regarding the use of silver diamine fluoride for your child, please contact our office. We are always happy to help!