Silver Diamine Fluoride

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is applied to cavities to help stop tooth decay and help save your natural teeth in high-risk cases. It is also sometimes used to treat and relieve tooth sensitivity. Tooth decay is usually treated with a dental filling, but SDF is a non-invasive treatment that stops tooth decay without drilling. Treatment with SDF does not eliminate the need for dental fillings or crowns to repair function or esthetics. SDF application every 6 months or so is necessary.

Who Benefits from SDF?

For children with decay who cannot tolerate fillings, we can apply SDF, usually as a temporary measure to delay treatment until they are able to proceed with a filling. This can help prevent the decay from becoming worse, more painful, or causing further damage to the tooth.

For adults with a very deep cavity where complete removal of the decay could risk exposing the nerve, traces of decay can be left behind and SDF can be applied underneath the filling material. This helps to reduce the risk of nerve irritation in the tooth and can prevent the decay from growing and damaging the nerve, which would require further treatment such as Root Canal Therapy or Extraction.

What are the benefits of SDF?

  • Helps stop tooth decay
  • Protects adjacent teeth
  • Painless and safe method
  • Quick treatment
  • Cost-effective
  • Relieves tooth sensitivity

How does it work?

SDF’s ability to slow down or stop decay comes from its two main ingredients: Silver & Fluoride. Silver has antibacterial properties and low toxicity. Fluoride remineralizes tooth structure and increases the resistance to future decay. Fluoride also has antimicrobial properties. SDF penetrates cavities and kills decay-causing bacteria and hardens softer dentin, making it more acid-resistant and abrasion-resistant.

What does the procedure involve?

  1. Dry the affected area to remove moisture.
  2. Place a small amount of SDF on the affected area.
  3. Allow SDF to dry or light-curing it for one minute.
  4. Final rinse.

Will SDF stain my teeth?

Only the affected area will stain black permanently. Healthy tooth structure will not stain. Stained tooth structure can be replaced or covered with a white filling or a porcelain crown.

Is there an alternative to SDF?

  • One alternative is to do no treatment, which may lead to continued deterioration of tooth structure and cosmetic appearance. Symptoms may develop gradually and increase in severity with tooth nerve involvement; tooth loss could, ultimately, result
  • Depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay, other treatment may include placement of fluoride varnish, a filling or crown, extraction, or referral for advanced treatment modalities.

You should not be treated with SDF if:

  • You are 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)
  • You do not want the affected area to be stained

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