Silver Diamine Fluoride: An Affordable Filling Alternative
Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is an antibiotic topical liquid solution brushed onto teeth to halt the progression of tooth decay. Research has shown the effectiveness of SDF in cavity prevention and arrest, and it has been used safely and successfully worldwide with patients of all age groups. Family Dental Health uses silver diamine fluoride to help our patients alleviate and battle tooth decay in a noninvasive, affordable way. Read on to learn more about SDF and what it can do for you or your child’s oral health!
What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Silver diamine fluoride combines fluoride to promote mineralization, silver to act as a microbial, and ammonia to stabilize the high-concentration solution—so the silver kills bacteria while fluoride prevents further breakdown of the tooth structure. Since it is applied topically with a brush, it requires minimal disruption of the natural tooth—meaning no drills or fillings! Future dental restoration will almost always be necessary, even following SDF treatment, but it can drastically reduce the severity of damage and postpone the need for more extensive dental work.
What Does SDF Do?
SDF has been used worldwide for more than 80 years, particularly in Japan and China. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared SDF for the treatment of sensitive teeth in adults 21 and older, and it is marketed under the brand name Advantage Arrest™ in the United States.
SDF can accomplish the following:
- Relieves hypersensitivity in teeth
- Inhibits bacterial growth on teeth
- Hardens teeth, making them more resistant to acid erosion and abrasion
- Stops cavity growth
- Prevents new lesions on teeth where it’s been applied
- Stains areas of dentin and enamel that are not sound, providing important clinical feedback to the dentist for a more effective plan of action for treatment
When is SDF a Good Choice?
SDF is effective for use in teeth with healthy pulp that is free of infection and necrosis (which means localized, irreversible death of living tissue). Because it is a noninvasive treatment, but it does stain the teeth where it’s applied, it is a good choice for children, people with disabilities, people who cannot tolerate conventional dental methods or those who have limited access to dental care and traditional restorative treatment for dental decay.
Since SDF has been used successfully overseas for decades, there is plenty of research to back its safe and effective use for children—dentists now treat pediatric patients “off-label” with SDF with positive results and positive experiences in the dental chair. It is a good stopgap measure for kids with baby teeth, and it can be used to treat primary teeth as well, both for cavity arrest and prevention as well as to combat sensitive teeth.
If you are interested in SDF treatment for yourself or your child, Dr. David Case and our dental team in Portland would love to talk more with you about it. Contact us today!
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.