Traditional methods of treating minor cavities in teeth typically involve drilling out the affected area and using various materials to fill the cavity. Even with the gentlest of care, some level of pain or discomfort may be experienced. Our office seeks to provide conservative and gentle treatment wherever possible, and silver diamine fluoride (SDF) allows us to do this.
SDF is a blue antimicrobial liquid used to fight tooth cavities. This liquid contains fluoride and silver ions, and when it’s brushed onto cavities, it kills bacteria, stopping tooth decay. SDF is FDA approved.
While there are other methods of treating cavities, SDF is preferable because it is a quick and easy process that involves no pain or discomfort as there’s no need for the injection of an anesthetic. For over 80% of smaller cavities, we encounter, SDF is the only treatment required. For larger cavities, SDF keeps cavities from progressing until other treatment options may be considered that would offer more permanent results. Finally, SDF helps to remineralize the natural tooth structure.
The entire process does not exceed two minutes in our rooms. One of our experienced staff members uses a brush dipped in SDF to paint the cavity. The silver in the liquid then gets to work, killing all the bacteria present, while the fluoride works to remineralize the tooth.