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Tooth Decay: Can Silver Diamine Fluoride Help?

Tooth Decay: Can Silver Diamine Fluoride Help?

When it comes to teeth, sharks have all the luck. For a shark, if a tooth gets damaged, there’s no need to rush off to the undersea dentist for a filling. Instead, the shark simply sheds the damaged tooth and immediately replaces it with a new one. In fact, some sharks have as many as 30,000 teeth, providing a lifetime of replacements — with no need for drilling and filling.

For people, it’s a different story. If we get a cavity, we need to see the dentist right away to have it repaired before the decay spreads to the rest of the tooth or causes infection. 

For years, repairing a cavity meant having the damaged part removed with a special drill, then “rebuilding” the area with a dental filling. But at Dental Kidz Club, we offer an alternative: silver diamine fluoride treatments designed to restore teeth and prevent asymptomatic cavities from spreading. Here’s how it works.

The science behind silver diamine fluoride

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a liquid product that’s applied to the surfaces of your child’s teeth with a brush, much like dental sealants. The liquid contains tiny particles of silver along with fluoride and ammonia. 

When applied to the surfaces of your child’s teeth, the tiny silver particles help destroy decay-causing bacteria. Fluoride helps rebuild the tooth’s protective layer of enamel, and ammonia prolongs the effectiveness to give the silver and fluoride time to work.

For some cavities, SDF is powerful enough to stop the tooth decay process, preventing the cavity from spreading and actually restoring the tooth structure. Plus, SDF can be used to prevent future cavities in addition to treating existing areas of decay.

Applying SDF

SDF is applied in the same way as dental sealants, using a tiny brush. Applications take just a few minutes, and it can be done at the same time as your child’s regular annual checkup.

To apply SDF, your child’s tooth is dried carefully, then the liquid is brushed on the surfaces of the tooth and allowed a little time to dry. Afterward, your child should avoid eating or drinking for about an hour to give the SDF time to penetrate the tooth material.

SDF and your child

SDF can be a great choice for kids who have a lot of dental anxiety or in cases where local anesthetics aren’t a viable option. SDF is a noninvasive treatment, and no needles or other anesthetics are required.

For cavity prevention, most children need to have SDF applied only once per year. Our team will determine if your child needs more frequent applications based on their oral health. If your child has an active cavity, we may recommend followup visits to ensure the cavity isn’t getting worse.

There may be some instances where a traditional filling is a better option than SDF. Your child’s dentist will be able to make the best recommendation for your child’s oral health needs following their office exam and evaluation.

Find out more

SDF can be a great option for stopping cavities in their tracks and even preventing them from forming in the first place. To learn how SDF can help improve your child’s oral health (and relieve their anxiety about dental visits), call Dental Kidz Club today or book an appointment online at our offices in Brea, Corona, Covina, Riverside, Ontario, and Perris, California.

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