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What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

January 16, 2020

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It’s hard enough to get a kindergartener to put on their shoes and coat in the morning, much less having them sit through getting a filling at the dentist.

Most people think cavities in such young children are very uncommon, but did you know that about 80% of children have cavities by the time they get to Kindergarten?

With the prevalence of childhood cavities being so high, lots of young children need to have their teeth treated, but lack the maturity and coping skills needed to sit through an appointment to have a filling or a crown done.

In the past, many young children and those with special needs needed to have sedation or general anesthesia to help treat their cavities, which presents many risks. So when silver diamine fluoride was approved by the FDA in 2015, it helped a lot of children avoid drilling, filling and needing sedation.

Silver Diamine fluoride is a liquid, applied with a small brush and floss to the tooth.

It has antibacterial and tooth strengthening properties that help to STOP the cavity in its tracks for the meantime. But it is also what is called “medical management” of caries that helps to not only treat but prevent future cavities from forming!

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So what’s the catch?

  • If you have a silver/metal allergy, you may be allergic to SDF and cannot use it.

  • Unfortunately, Silver diamine fluoride cannot be used on all types of cavities. When cavities are large and close to the pulp(which house the nerves of the tooth), it is not a good option, and the tooth will need further treatment.

  • Additionally, the silver does cause black staining in the area of the cavity. In most cases, an additional material (glass ionomer) can be placed on the area to mask the staining.

  • Some insurances have not yet begun to cover the treatment as part of their dental benefits.

Although there are some limitations to the treatment, overall silver diamine fluoride is a revolutionary innovation in pediatric dentistry and can help your child take care of their cavities without the tears! It is best to be evaluated by a pediatric dentist who does SDF to see if your child can benefit from this treatment!

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Comment below with questions and comments about Silver diamine fluoride!


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