Approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) in 2014, silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a ground-breaking new option for the treatment and prevention of cavities in children. Used for decades in numerous other countries around the world, SDF is a clear antibiotic liquid made of silver and fluoride. It is painted onto the child’s tooth or teeth at the site of the cavity. The silver strengthens the underlying protective layer of the teeth called the dentin, while the fluoride stops tooth decay and helps prevent additional decay from developing.
Silver diamine fluoride offers a quicker, pain-free and less expensive solution to drilling and filling cavities. In addition, no sedatives or anesthetic is needed. This treatment is a game-changer for individuals, such as young children (nearly a quarter of 2 to 5-year olds have cavities), as well as, patients with special needs, and the elderly, who are unable to tolerate more invasive dental procedures. The treatment offers the extra benefit of providing immediate relief from dental hypersensitivity.
The dentist brushes and rinses the child’s teeth without paste in preparation of the silver diamine fluoride solution. Teeth are then dried and cleaned of any debris, such as plaque. The solution is then applied to the affected tooth or teeth with a microbrush and allowed to cure on the tooth for a couple of minutes. Following the treatment, children must refrain from eating or drinking for one hour. For maximum benefits, at least one follow-up application of the silver diamine fluoride solution is required, between 6-18 months following the initial treatment.
Still new, silver diamine fluoride may not be covered by all dental insurance policies, but it is considerably less expensive than having a traditional filling.
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