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SDF – Silver Diamine Fluoride

An Overview

SDF in simple language is an anti-microbial agent used on cavities to stop and prevent tooth decay. It is a colourless liquid that is applied on the affected teeth using a microbrush. There may be a mild metallic taste and an ammonia smell during application, which will dissipate quickly.

SDF is a liquid that is brushed directly on the cavity to stop decay. It is a painless procedure and can be a good treatment option for cavities if your child is young or has special needs, as SDF can help delay more extensive procedures such as drilling or sedation. Think of it as a band-aid solution, as it will not be a permanent solution to the cavity, but can buy the patient more time and keep the decay from worsening until the child is old enough for treatment to be more successful, or the baby tooth falls out.

Keep in mind that SDF blackens the decayed part of the tooth, leaving it discolored, and that the tooth will need to be monitored by your dentist to make sure that the cavity is not growing. But, if the cavity is on a baby tooth that will eventually fall out, or if the tooth is in the back of the mouth that’s hard to see, SDF might be a good option.

If you have questions, or would like to discuss Silver Diamine Fluoride as a treatment option for your child, please contact 32 Smilez Dental Clinic and Implant Centre, Chandigarh

Benefits of SDF - Silver Diamina Fluoride

  • SDF has been proven to be the most effective in stopping tooth decay.
  • It is non-intimidating and does not involve the use of dental drills or injection.
  • The procedure is fast, painless and easy
  • SDF relieves sensitivity
  • Fewer follow-up visits as compared to other forms of fluoride.

How does SDF Work?

SDF contains two active ingredients, silver and fluoride. The silver actually kills the bacteria present in caries (cavities.) In addition, the silver ions penetrate the weak part of the tooth and plug up the microscopic holes in the enamel or dentin surface. This residual silver continues to work at killing additional bacteria resulting in tooth structure that can be immune from further decay. The fluoride then helps to remineralize the weak areas of the tooth. One study showed that applying SDF once a year was more effective in stopping cavities than four applications of fluoride varnish four times a year.

Indications for SDF?

  • For the very young child who has caries (cavities): In the past the only options for treating very young children with cavities was to treat them under duress as well as possible, to treat them under sedation or general anesthesia, or to leave the cavities alone which usually results in worsening of their condition. SDF can now be used to stabilize the cavities until the child is older and can receive treatment without sedation or general anesthesia.
  • For the special needs child: Special needs children often have unmet dental needs. Parents are naturally nervous about how their child will “act” at the dentist so they avoid even taking their child to the dentist. Cavities in special needs kids can be stabilized with SDF, thus avoiding the need for sedation or general anesthesia.
  • For children with cavities in primary (baby) teeth: We weigh many factors when deciding whether cavities in baby teeth need treatment or not. Usually baby molars are lost around the ages of 10-12. For kids with moderate sized cavities, SDF can be used to stabilize the cavities until the teeth are lost. For younger kids with cavities in baby molars. SDF can be used to stabilize cavities and hopefully prevent the need for any treatment at all.
  • Sometimes children have a condition in their enamel called hypoplasia or hypomineralization in which the enamel does not properly calcify. Causes for this condition can be high fevers or illness when younger, antibiotics, prematurity, genetic, and unknown causes. These teeth can decay quickly and are frequently very sensitive. Teeth with hypomineralization can be very painful to have treated even when proper local anesthetic has been provided. SDF can be used to stop the progression of the decay and to even stabilize the weak enamel. By stabilizing the enamel it also provides relief from what can be a very painful condition.
  • For the adolescent with small cavities on the biting surfaces or between the teeth: although SDF is not as effective for treating cavities between the teeth as it is for treating exposed parts of the teeth, it can stabilize the cavities. Along with changes to diet and hygiene, it is hoped that cavities on the permanent teeth will not progress and will not require treatment. Our goal is to prevent the need for large fillings on kids at such a young age since large fillings can many times lead to larger fillings, crowns, root canal treatment and even tooth loss as a person gets older if the factors that led to the cavities are not addressed and modified.
  • For the parent who wants to avoid treatment and minimize the child’s exposure to filling materials, sedation, general anesthesia and fluoride. Even though SDF does contain fluoride, it is minimal compared with professional topical fluoride and prescription strength fluoride and only contains the amount of fluoride present in one liter of fluoridate water. Additionally, there can be significant cost savings if treatment can be avoided.

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