Understanding Silver Diamine Fluoride in Dentistry

A small girl, mother and dentist in surgery, a dental checkup.

SDF, or silver diamine fluoride, is a topical medication that may be administered to the teeth to treat dental cavities in people of all ages. SDF successfully enables Children Dental Center Indianapolis IN to cure cavities without numbing or drilling for the first time. Other than conventional fillings, which require numbing and drilling, there has not yet been any intervention or therapy method that has proven successful in removing cavities.

  1. The Functions of Silver Diamine Fluoride

It’s easy. The fluoride helps to remineralize or strengthen the tooth structure that the cavity-causing germs have compromised by acting as an antibacterial, killing the bacteria that make up a cavity. SDF is a 38 percent solution comprised of roughly 25 percent silver and about 5.5 percent fluoride for you chemical nerds.

The bacteria first erodes the tooth’s outer enamel layer when a cavity develops before breaking through it. This generally leaves a tiny hole in the enamel, which the bacteria may use to get farther into the tooth. The operation of bacterial breakdown is delayed or halted when silver is placed to the teeth because it attaches to the bacterium, rendering it inactive (or killing) the bacteria. Fluoride is re-mineralized or re-hardened into the enamel simultaneously, strengthening the tooth structure and making it resistant to further deterioration.

According to studies, administering SDF to people at risk for cavities simply once a year prevents more cavities than applying fluoride four times a year alone. Wow! Isn’t that impressive right now?

  1. Who is the SDF for?

SDF is an excellent therapy substitute for young children since it gives them some time. Early cavities may be treated with SDF to halt the spread of deterioration. Traditional white fillings may be applied to existing cavities after the patient is a little older (and more agreeable).

  1. Children with baby teeth

Due to a weaker enamel layer, cavities on baby teeth often develop and spread more quickly than those on permanent teeth. SDF may assist in preventing cavities from growing worse, whether they have already formed on the biting surface of the tooth or in between teeth. Parents who want an alternative treatment strategy to conventional fillings might consider SDF.

  1. Children and teens with permanent teeth

Childrens Dentist Indianapolis IN commonly refer to these little cavities as “incipient lesions” or “watches” when they develop on the outer enamel surface. If early lesions don’t break through the enamel’s outer layer and don’t create a hole (also known as a cavity), they may often be watched over time. With the advent of SDF, incipient lesions on permanent teeth may now be treated more strategically, postponing (and in some cases altogether eliminating) the need to drill teeth to implant conventional fillings. Historically, fluoride has been the primary agent in slowing incipient cavities.

  1. Silver Diamine Fluoride’s drawbacks
  • The silver becomes a dark gray or black hue as it attaches to the cavity-causing germs, permanently coloring the tooth or creating a “scar.” Fortunately, healthy enamel will stay white since the SDF does not affect it. The color of the tooth will only alter where there is a cavity. The black staining that results from the application of SDF to cavities between the teeth is almost undetectable. However, some parents may find the discoloration objectionable when used to treat cavities on young children’s top front teeth. But in many cases, after patients comply enough to put up with lengthier visit hours, white fillings may be put on top of the SDF-stained tooth structure.
  • SDF may permanently stain cavities but can also leave stains on clothing and other materials. SDF might unintentionally give the skin or lips a brief light gray stain akin to a henna tattoo that will ultimately disappear in 2–14 days if exposed to the skin or lips.
  • SDF should not be administered to people allergic to silver or with open sores within their mouths (like canker sores).
  1. SDF application

The patient must be appropriately draped with a bib or napkin since SDF may stain clothing and other furniture items. Kids Dentist Indianapolis IN will often apply a tiny coating of Vaseline to the lips and cheeks to minimize any unintentional exposure to SDF, which will help prevent discoloration. Using a saliva ejector (the suction straw thing) or wiping away extra saliva with gauze, it’s crucial to eliminate the majority of saliva from the mouth before applying SDF to the teeth. If the tooth is initially dried with a constant air stream, the quantity of SDF absorption into the cavity is maximum. The SDF will then be applied to the tooth using a tiny plastic brush with a cotton end (known as a micro brush). SDF has to be used on the tooth’s cavity-filled area.

A tiny brush is not necessary to paint healthy enamel. For approximately a minute, your dentist will want to wait as the SDF is absorbed into the tooth. The tooth is often segregated by soft cotton rollers, which may absorb excess saliva to prevent saliva from coming onto the tooth while the SDF is soaking in. During this one-minute absorption time, some dentists could continuously blow air into the patient’s teeth if they feel it is comfortable.

Pediatric Dentistry Indianapolis IN would likely use a kind of thick floss when applying SDF to cavities that are located in the spaces between the teeth. The SDF is given to the floss after it is tucked between the teeth, which the enamel will absorb.

Although SDF may have a bitter or sour taste, it is preferable to wait for a little before rinsing with water to avoid diluting or washing part of the SDF from the cavity surface. According to several research and clinical trials, it is advised to refrain from eating or drinking for 30 to 60 minutes after applying SDF.

Pediatric Dentist Indianapolis IN can advise putting a thin coat of clear fluoride varnish after SDF has been administered to all essential teeth. The varnish your kid gets during checkups is the same one used here. For the SDF to be absorbed deeper into the cavity, this varnish aids in sealing it in. As with a clear top coat of nail polish, think of the varnish as a temporary “top coat” that shields the colorful layer of polish placed earlier.

Last thoughts

SDF, in our opinion, represents a significant advance in pediatric dentistry. It has significantly slowed down the development of deterioration and allowed many patients to forgo numbing and drilling.