Pediatric Dentist Oakland

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Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a cost-effective, non-invasive, and painless solution for treating cavities, especially for those in the early stages of decay. By brushing or flossing the medicine on and coating the area with a varnish, SDF helps remineralize the area and slow down decay, with a potential “Halo Effect” to help prevent future decay. Routine follow-up visits are necessary to monitor teeth treated with Silver Diamine Fluoride and determine if additional treatment is needed.

Silver nitrate has been successfully used by dentists since the 1800’s.

Because the silver diamine fluoride will simply be painted onto the tooth or teeth being treated, this is a completely non-invasive treatment. Plus, it only takes a small amount of the silver diamine fluoride liquid to treat several teeth. In fact, SDF is so concentrated, one drop of SDF can treat up to 5 teeth. Your child will not have to sit with a large amount of fluid in their mouth, making it a convenient and comfortable treatment, even for wiggly little ones.

SDF is a great option to “put out the fire” and reduce the bacterial load in the mouth by putting a lot of the bugs to sleep. This is nice if we’re trying to delay or avoid fillings all together.

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a liquid solution that contains silver, ammonia, water, and fluoride. The silver and fluoride in SDF work together to help treat and prevent cavities in children’s teeth. The silver acts as an antimicrobial, effectively killing the bacteria that cause cavities. It also penetrates the weak parts of the tooth, remineralizing and strengthening the enamel to slow down or stop decay. The fluoride works to remineralize the tooth and strengthen its defenses against future decay. When applied to the surface of a cavity, SDF can help slow or stop its progression, reducing the need for more invasive treatments like fillings or crowns.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use as a safe and effective treatment, making it a trusted option for parents and children. SDF is a liquid solution that is simply brushed or flossed onto the surface of the cavity, making it a non-invasive and painless treatment option. Additionally, the active ingredients in SDF, silver and fluoride, have long been recognized for their antimicrobial and remineralizing properties, providing a two-pronged approach to fighting cavities. With its safety and effectiveness backed by the FDA, SDF is a great option for families looking to keep their children’s teeth healthy.

SDF can prevent cavity growth with a success rate of up to 80% when applied biannually.

While some insurance policies are beginning to cover silver diamine fluoride, many still do not. Insurance companies make millions and billions of dollars in profit and aim to maximize their profits, not the oral health of their clients, so we do not base our recommendations off of insurance coverage. Even if not covered, SDF is often a more cost-effective treatment than other restorative procedures. 

SDF is one layer of many to help avoid additional treatment. One of the most important factors is addressing the causes of the initial cavities development. We carefully monitor teeth who are actively under SDF management.

We are very careful with our SDF application. Although each individual interprets “hurt” differently, this is typically considered a painless procedure. By far the biggest complaint is the taste! Pennies and old sour patch kids *ewww*.

SDF is effective for treating teeth that have soft spots, or the beginning stages of a cavity, but it does not work on open cavities, or more severe tooth decay- sometimes it doesn’t work and we don’t know exactly why. A huge part of success is at home oral hygiene, diet choices, and biologic factors!