Dentists have always told us that the best prevention against cavities is a good oral hygiene routine (brushing and flossing), a healthy diet (avoiding sugary drinks and keeping sugar intake to a minimum) and fluoride treatments at least once a year. Following the advice of dentists can help combat tooth decay and cavities, the number one disease among children.
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a highly effective fluoride treatment for children. It is an FDA-approved topical solution that treats and prevents dental caries and reduces tooth sensitivity. SDF is made with two active ingredients: the silver component is an anti-microbial agent that kills bacteria and prevents the formation of new biofilm (the precursor to plaque), and the fluoride ingredient prevents further demineralization (softening) of the tooth structure.
Treatment with SDF does not eliminate the need for a filling for a tooth with a cavity but is effective in preventing further decay.
SDF is a simple and noninvasive treatment performed in the comfort of a dental office. It is brushed directly onto the tooth surface. Any excess SDF is removed and patients are instructed not to eat or drink for one hour. Decayed portions of the teeth will turn black and can then be replaced with a filling or crown. Healthy tooth structure will not stain.
SDF is especially appropriate for children under several conditions, including:
- Children who have extreme decay (severe early childhood caries)
- Young children who have difficulty sitting still for treatment
- Special needs patients
- Children with carious lesions (cavities) that need to be treated over several visits
The benefits of SDF are significant. In addition to killing the organisms that cause cavities, SDF hardens softened dentin to make it more acid- and abrasion-resistant which prevents development of decay. It also provides immediate relief from tooth hypersensitivity.
Fluoride treatments are not all alike. That’s why you should ask your dentist about the benefits of Silver Diamine Fluoride, or SDF, as an effective treatment for cavity prevention for your child.