What is silver diamine fluoride?
Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a topical liquid substance used to help prevent tooth cavities (or caries) from forming, growing, or spreading to other teeth. Silver diamine fluoride is applied painlessly via a microbrush, directly on to the teeth.
SDF is made of the following:
- Silver: helps kill bacteria
- Water: provides a liquid base for the mixture
- Fluoride: helps your teeth rebuild the materials they’re made of (known as remineralization)
- Ammonia: helps the solution remain concentrated so that it’s maximally effective against cavity resonance
SDF treatment side effects only carry slight risks, however, it is known to be extremely effective in controlling cavities than no treatment at all. It is most commonly and safely used in dental clinics by dental professionals.
How is silver diamine fluoride used?
Most dentists use a liquid form of SDF containing at least 38 percent of the SDF solution. It’s applied topically, meaning that it’s applied directly to the surface of your teeth.
The application of SDF can vary between dentists, but the following steps are quite common:
- Cotton or gauze is placed near the affected teeth to prevent saliva from moistening the teeth.
- Moisture is removed from the surface of the teeth using a vacuum suction tool.
- SDF is applied to the area affected by a cavity.
Your dentist may also use the following to mask the areas affected by cavities:
- glass ionomer
SDF tooth treatment is most commonly used on areas affected by cavities. A SDF treatment can be applied directly on the affected area without having to treat the cavity in question with fillings. The procedure may leave the treated area with a black stained hue a few minutes or hours after application. This issue will resolve itself by disappearing after a few days. Research shows that SDF can be just as helpful for children and adults when used as a preventive measure by being applied to healthy tooth surfaces.
SDF treatment for cavities has proven to be much more successful than fluoride varnish. SDF also requires fewer treatments over time. There’s no set number of applications required for SDF treatment to work. Most dentists only apply it once per year.
How does silver diamine fluoride benefit your oral hygiene?
SDF treatment has widely been shown to be effective to help stop cavity development after a cavity has formed. Dentists call this process caries resonance. The SDF tooth treatment helps to kill bacteria that erodes the tooth surface. Additionally, it also keeps the bacteria from spreading to other teeth.
It is often suggested that a SDF treatment is a more comfortable alternative to drilling cavities. This is especially helpful for children or adults who suffer from dental phobia. It also assists those with special healthcare needs, if the occasion arises when a dentist may not be able to fully engage in a dental procedure. SDF treatment can be helpful as a cavity treatment if you’re overly sensitive to the instruments and substances that are used during the procedure.
SDF is a quick, safe and painless procedure that can help keep cavities to a minimum or prevent them entirely. If you feel that it’s difficult to make time for regular dental check-ups or feel uncomfortable about cavity procedures, this is a fantastic option for you. There is no special equipment required and the treatment only needs to be reapplied once a year.
Like fluoride varnish, SDF treatment may not be available or recommended for every cavity. But SDF has been proven to be highly successful in stopping the development and spread of cavities.
Looking for more information about a SDF treatment for you or your child? We’re only a phone call away – 780-484-5918.