Silver Diammine Fluoride (SDF) is an FDA-approved liquid clinically applied to control active dental caries and prevent further progression of disease. While the ideal way to treat teeth with decay is by removing the decay and placing a restoration (filling), this alternative treatment allows Dr. Niloo to stop decay with noninvasive methods, particularly with young children that have baby teeth.
Treatment with SDF will not eliminate the need for restorative dentistry to repair function or aesthetics, but has been effective at prevention of further decay. Dental restorations may include but are not limited to dental fillings, root canal therapy and or crowns.
SDF is composed of two primary components: silver and fluoride. Silver acts as an anti-microbial agent that simultaneously strengthens the underlying protective layer of your teeth called dentin. Fluoride is the active ingredient that puts a stop to tooth decay and helps prevent additional decay from appearing. Once the tooth has been treated, we advise patients not to eat or drink or at least an hour to allow it to cure.
There are several situations in which it may be recommend. Those include, but are not limited to the following:
Children who may have excessive decay (severe early childhood caries)
Young children who have difficulty cooperating for treatment
Special needs patients
Children with carious lesions that may not all be treated in one visit
Dr. Niloo recommends SDF for children with disabilities or those who are unable to sit for longer cavity treatments. Benefits to this technique:
- Quick treatment time
- Effective cavity prevention
- May stop tooth decay
- Relieves tooth sensitivity
There are some risks associated with it, which include, but are not limited to the following:
- Any decayed areas will stain black. Healthy tooth structure will not stain. Stained tooth structures can be replaced with a filling or crown. SDF may discolor dental fillings and crowns.
- If SDF is applied to skin or gums, a harmless temporary brown or white stain may appear on the area. The stain will disappear in one to three weeks. It cannot be washed off.
- The patient may notice a metallic taste after an application. This will go away rapidly.
- Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure the success of the treatment. There is a risk that the procedure will not stop the decay, and no guarantee of success is granted or implied. If the tooth decay is not arrested, the decay will progress. In that case the tooth will require further dental treatment such as further SDF application, dental fillings, root canal therapy, or extraction.
Patients should not be treated with SDF when:
- Patient is allergic to silver
- There are painful sores or raw areas on your gums (i.e. ulcerative gingivitis) or anywhere in your mouth (i.e. stomatitis)
If you have any further questions about Silver Diammine Fluoride treatment please fill free to call our office.