Minimally Invasive Treatment Options
Silver diamine fluoride (or SDF) is changing the way the pediatric dentistry is being practiced today and is dramatically reducing the number of procedures that we perform on our young patients.
What is it?
SDF has been available in the US for about 2 years. It is a clear liquid that is applied at the site of the cavity to deliver silver ions directly to the decayed tooth structure. The silver acts as an antibacterial agent to slow down or halt the progression of cavities and reduce sensitivity.
How is it applied?
Application of SDF is quick and painless with no need for local anesthetic. It is applied locally at the site of the cavity with a small brush. Floss can be used to apply it when the cavities are between the teeth. It is generally applied in 2-3 applications 4-6 weeks apart.
Who benefits from SDF?
Children are the ideal candidates for the use of SDF. SDF allows us to reduce or eliminate bacteria, thereby reducing the number of restorative (filling) appointments. It has also helped countless children avoid sedation appointments that would have otherwise been indicated.
What’s the downside?
The tooth structure where there is already a cavity becomes permanently stained black. SDF does not stain healthy enamel or dentin.
What is the cost?
SDF is significantly less expensive than traditional dentistry. More insurance companies are covering the cost as the benefits of SDF become more widely understood. Even without insurance it is a cost effective option, generally costing $15-50 per application... way less than a filling!