Silver Diamine Fluoride
At Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry, our pediatric dentist Dr. Laura Stewart strives to provide her patients with a variety of treatment options to ensure young patients have only positive experiences. Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) has been used around the world for decades and was approved by the FDA for use in the States just a few years ago. SDF is changing the way pediatric dentistry is being performed today and has drastically reduced the number of procedures that we perform on our young patients.
What Is Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Silver diamine fluoride is a liquid containing fluoride and silver. The silver acts as an antibacterial agent to slow down or stop the progression of decay. It’s applied to targeted areas with a small brush or floss and has several clinical applications.
Who Benefits From Silver Diamine Fluoride?
The young or anxious patient is the ideal candidate for SDF application. Traditionally, cavities in teeth require drilling to remove bacteria and a filling is placed. For small children or those with anxiety at the dentist, filling a cavity usually requires some form of sedation. We provide pediatric dental sedation, but some patients cannot tolerate sedatives and some parents prefer less-invasive treatments until children are more mature. SDF has helped countless children avoid sedation appointments that would have otherwise been indicated.
We offer silver diamine fluoride as a quick and painless alternative for treating tooth decay in young children. The silver inside the solution kills harmful or active bacteria in the tooth, arresting the decay, while the fluoride reinforces the tooth’s surface. Silver diamine fluoride, however, is not an effective treatment for deeper cavities with active infection that reaches the nerve of the tooth.
Does Silver Diamine Fluoride Have Any Side Effects or Drawbacks?
The primary drawback of silver diamine fluoride is that it turns the portion of the tooth affected by the cavity permanently black. It does not stain healthy enamel or dentin. On a less-visible molar, a discoloration is not quite as noticeable. In a very small child, these black spots do not usually cause much concern. However, as children grow and enter school, a visible black spot can make a child feel quite self-conscious among his or her peers.
When your child starts school or is ready to attempt treatment, we can cover or mask the stain with a tooth-colored filling or crown to restore the tooth’s structure and cover the black spot left by the silver diamine fluoride.
SDF does not restore tooth form and function, so larger cavities may still require restorations. Overall this therapy is safe, affordable and reduces risk and trauma.
Schedule a Cleaning and Exam Today
At Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Laura always prefers prevention to treatment. Although cavities happen, we do our best to work together as a team to prevent them. For more information about silver diamine fluoride or to schedule a cleaning and exam for your child, contact our office today.