We have brushing, flossing, sealants and fluoride to protect our teeth against cavities, but what if there was a way to stop and remineralize enamel after decay already works its way into your tooth, without having to get a filling?
There is. It’s silver diamine fluoride, or “SDF.”
When a small filling would usually be the next recommended step, this unique fluoride treatment can be used to arrest (stop) cavities that have already extended into the enamel. Silver diamine fluoride is successful at halting decay in approximately 80% of primary (baby) teeth, and 60% of permanent (adult) teeth.
After removing the decayed debris inside of the tooth, a small applicator is used to apply a few small drops of SDF onto the newly-cleaned surface. It’s something that should be reapplied yearly.
Silver inside of the mixture inhibits the development of new bacteria and kills any that are left. SDF triggers the development of new fluorapatite crystals, which harden the outer surface of the tooth and make it resistant to additional damage.
SDF has been used for nearly a century but is becoming increasingly popular after the ADA recognized its use in 2010 as a viable method for treating childhood decay.
Assuming that the tooth is still structurally sound and the decay does not spread, you’re good to go!
In the past when SDF was used, it was known for causing secondary tooth staining. Fortunately, an added ingredient, potassium iodide, can reduce just how much staining occurs. Thankfully, just a minor amount of localized stain is far worth the trade-off of a larger cavity or undergoing unnecessary treatment.
Call Fine Dental Care today to schedule a checkup. We’ll screen for disease, including tooth decay, and if necessary, show you how SDF can help you avoid having a filling!