5 Questions and Answers About Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)

Silver Diamine Fluoride

What is Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)?

Silver Diamine Fluoride is a colorless antimicrobial liquid that can treat cavities in an easy, non-invasive, fast and painless manner.

Its primary components are silver and fluoride. Silver is the antimicrobial agent that also strengthens the dentin in your tooth. Fluoride is the ingredient that stops the tooth decay and prevents any future decay from appearing.

When is Silver Diamine Fluoride recommended?

There are a few situations where we would recommend the use of SDF. Some of these include but are not limited to:

  • Our younger patients.
  • Children with severe cavities everywhere in their mouth.
  • Uncooperative or fearful children.
  • Special needs patients.
  • Elderly patients with severe decay and sensitivity

What are the benefits from Silver Diamine Fluoride?

  • Helps stop tooth decay.
  • Can help to relieve sensitivity.
  • Non-invasive.
  • Painless.
  • Comfortable and fast.
  • Patient will not need any local anesthetic and there is zero drilling of the tooth structure.

What are the risks related to Silver Diamine Fluoride?

  • All decayed areas will permanently stain black within a week of treatment, although healthy tooth structure will not stain. After the tooth decay is arrested, white fillings can cover up the black stained areas or small holes that may trap food.
  • If SDF accidentally touches the skin or gums, a temporary brown or white stain may appear. This is completely harmless and usually disappears within a week or two.
  • Patient will notice a slight metallic taste that will disappear within 10-15 minutes after treatment.
  • SDF cannot be used if the decay reaches into the nerve of the tooth.

What can I expect to happen in my Silver Diamine Fluorideappointment?

  • We will start by applying some Vaseline around your mouth and lips to prevent any accidental brown staining.
  • Polish the affected area to make sure it is clean and plaque free.
  • Dry the affected area with air, cotton rolls or Isolate.
  • If the decayed area is between the teeth we will insert floss between the teeth.
  • SDF liquid is applied and left for one minute to dry.
  • Rinse with water.
  • Apply topical fluoride to decrease the metallic taste and make sure we have the optimal environment for the SDF to work.

Every reasonable and effective effort will be made to ensure the success of Silver Diamine Fluoride treatment. There is always a risk that the procedure may not completely stop the decay in which case you may require further dental treatment.