Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a non-invasive, antimicrobial liquid medication used by dentists to prevent cavities and help with sensitivity. It is considered one of the best alternative treatments to filling cavities in teeth. Most SDF products are colorless and odorless, except some brands such as Advantage Arrest which have a blue tint.
Compared to other treatment methods such as filling, SDF treatments are more affordable, easier to apply, and don’t require the dentist to actually drill and remove cavities. SDF is typically used on children and other people who don’t want to get traditional restorative treatments due to their higher cost.
How Does SDF Work?
SDF helps prevents dental cavities thanks to its chemical components which include:
- Fluoride – remineralizes the enamel and hardens softened dentin, making it more resistant to acid and abrasion.
- Silver – kills pathogenic organisms. Silver ions interact with the outer membrane of bacteria, causing structural changes that lead to the degradation and eventual death of the bacteria.
- Ammonia – keeps the solution concentrated.
- Water – liquid base for the active ingredients
SDF has a good safety record. It can affect soft tissues so it’s not recommended for people with gum disease, open sores, or gingivitis.
How Is SDF Applied?
SDF has been used extensively around the world for decades to treat cavities/sensitivity. No injection or drilling is required!
First the area to be treated is cleaned, any moisture removed, and isolated. The SDF solution is then carefully applied to the teeth with either a micro brush or a special floss and dry gauze or compressed air. The solution is rinsed off with water after about 10 minutes.
SDF can be effective with just a single treatment. However multiple applications are often required to be more successful. Silver diamine fluoride treatments are often applied about once every six months for two years.
When to Choose SDF Treatments?
- Young children and those who have special needs may find it difficult to sit still to get a filling, which requires longer treatment time compared to SDF.
- According to reports from the CDC, almost 20% of children aged 2-19 have untreated cavities. SDF treatments are best for baby teeth because many children are fearful of needles and drills. SDF treatment is minimally invasive, painless and does not require needles or drilling.
- Seniors/older adults especially those patients with physical, medical, and cognitive impairments.
- People with anxiety about going to the dentist and those with special health conditions.
- As an inexpensive and small treatment, SDF is more affordable to most people.
The disadvantage of SDF is that it causes dark stains in the areas where it’s applied. Surrounding gum tissue may get stained as well, although those stains will eventually go away, unlike the stains on your teeth.
Dr. Joon Coe, Dr. Julie Coe, and the rest of the DIVA team look forward to helping you achieve a brighter smile and the highest possible dental health. Please call us if you have any questions about SDF treatments or other questions about your dental health.
We’re located at 19490 Sandridge Way, Suite 160, Lansdowne, VA 20176. Our hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm. Contact us to schedule an appointment or ask us a question.
Dental Innovations of Virginia provides comprehensive dental services, and preventive dentistry for the whole family. In addition to our Lansdowne office serving the Leesburg, Lansdowne, Ashburn, Loudoun County areas, we also come to you via our DIVA Mobile Clinic service for patients living in long-term care facilities, and our DIVA Home Visit service for patients who prefer to receive treatments in the comfort of their own home.