The American Association of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) has published a research study on the use of silver diamine fluoride in the management of dental caries among children and adolescents, as well as those with special care needs. Currently, the most preferred way of managing tooth decay among this group is through removal of the decay and employing restorative procedures such as fillings and sealants. However, there are some situations wherein these methods are not financially or physically feasible.
With that said, the use of silver diamine floude or SDF offers an effective alternative solution to prevent the decay from further deterioration.
What is Silver Diamine Flouride?
Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a solution made from water, fluoride, silver and ammonia. In this liquid solution, fluoride works by treating the tooth decay and preventing it from deteriorating further while silver works to protect the dentin, the inner layer of the teeth.
Despite its slightly metallic taste, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this solution for the treatment of hypersensitivity. However, it is only recently, through numerous evidences from studies that it can successfully treat and prevent decay in kids, the elderly and patients with special needs.
How is SDF Applied?
After cleaning and drying the teeth, a drop of SDF is applied on the teeth, specifically areas that are affected by decay to stop the cavities from spreading further. The solution is spread over using a tiny brush and then, it is left to cure for about 2 minutes.
SDF treatment also helps reduce hypersensitivity caused by tooth decay as it strengthens any exposed dentin.
Is SDF Safe for My Children?
SDF is a safe treatment option compared to other dental procedures that have reported to have severe side effects or have reported risks. Many pediatric dentists recommend it for kids with severe early childhood caries.
SDF has many benefits but also comes with disadvantages:
· The treatment is fast, simple and effective.
· It is non-invasive and painless compared to traditional decay procedures that involves anaesthesia injection, drilling and more.
· Highly effective in preventing decay
· Relieves hypersensitivity
· Reported to have slight metallic taste and ammonia smell. However, this disappears quickly after treatment.
· The decayed areas that are treated with SDF will have permanent discoloration, often brown or black staining. This is due to a chemical reaction with the silver and is proof that it’s destroying cavity-causing bacteria. Take note that only the decayed areas will be discoloured and not the entire tooth.
· Patients with silver allergies or mouth ulcers must avoid SDF. They can talk about alternation options with their dentist.
Like any other procedure, it is very important that you discuss it with your pediatric dentist to make sure to completely understand the procedure’s risks and benefits.