Silver Diamine Fluoride Guide
Silver diamine fluoride is used in the treatment and prevention of tooth cavities (caries). It is now being used as a highly effective and painless way to treat tooth decay.
What is Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)?
Silver diamine fluoride or SDF was approved for use in Japan over 80 years ago for the first time. Until 2014 before the solution was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America. SDF is categorized as a Class II medical solution or device. Class II medical devices are those that have only a slight amount of risk. It can be bought in specific medical stores for home use, but on most of the occasions, the Silver diamine fluoride is used safely in dental clinics for treatment and prevention of caries.
What is in Silver Diamine Fluride?
The Silver Diamine Fluoride or SDF is made up of Silver which helps to kill bacteria, water which is the liquid base of the mixture, fluoride which helps with the remineralization of the teeth, and ammonia which keeps the SDF solution concentrated for maximum effectiveness.
Benefits of the Silver Diamine Fluoride on oral health
Silver diamine fluoride is a very effective cavity combating solution. It effectively stops the cavity from developing further even after it has formed. This is referred to by dentists as caries resonance.
Silver diamine fluoride is also beneficial for killing bacteria that are known for breaking down tooth surfaces. SDF also keeps these bacteria from spreading to other teeth.
It is a more comfortable alternative than the drilling of cavities. It is perfect for children and adult alike. People with anxiety about the dentist and dental procedures and those who require special healthcare need will find the SDF solution very viable.
Also, for people or patients that are sensitive to instruments and substances of cavity treatments, Silver diamine fluoride is a viable solution for them.
SDG helps to minimize cavities or even to prevent them completely for people who for one reason or another find it hard to go for a regular dental check-up. The treatment is cheap, quick and does not need special equipment to be applied. Also, all things remaining equal, Silver diamine fluoride only needs a single application yearly.
Possible side effects of Silver Diamine Fluoride
Generally, the Silver diamine fluoride treatment is considered by dentists as safe for adults and children alike. However, there might be a few negative side effects of the use of SDF that is worth noting.
The most popular and widely known side effect of the Silver diamine fluoride treatment is the black stains around the area where the SDF is applied on the teeth. If the solution also comes in contact with other surfaces during the application, it can leave a permanent stain on such surfaces. Surfaces like tissues or clothing are prone to silver diamine fluoride black and stubborn stains.
To address the issue of staining, some studies and research have found out the importance of potassium iodide. Using potassium iodide along with Silver diamine fluoride during application helps to reduce the stains.
Another study also discovered that the use of nano-silver fluoride (NSF) is very effective for the reduction of the black stains of silver diamine fluoride. However, research is still on to ascertain if Nano-Silver Fluoride (NSF) is as effective for treatment and prevention of cavities and caries as SDF. At the moment, dentists have agreed that for effectiveness, nano-silver fluoride will need to be applied more often to get a similar level of success as with Silver diamine fluoride.
People with a silver allergy are not to use the silver diamine fluoride for treatment of a cavity. Also, mouth sores or canker sores, advanced gum disease and major tooth decay are not advisable for treatment with Silver diamine fluoride. When the conditions come in contact with the ammonia in SDF, the reactions can be very painful.
Aside from these noted possible side effects, the Silver Diamine Fluoride is a very safe treatment. This is why a lot of dentists are beginning to embrace SDF for the treatment of caries.
What is the cost of SDF?
According to the Association of State and territorial dental directors, on average, the cost of a single SDF application is $75 or about $20 -$25 per tooth. However, if you have dental insurance plans, your SDF treatment might be covered.
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a very safe treatment for cavities. It is a comfortable and painless alternative to the traditional method of drilling the cavities. It is not always recommended by a dentist in every cavity case.
Also, the SDF treatment procedure is not as widely available as some of the other similar cavity treatments like the fluoride varnish.
However, the SDF has been proven beyond every reasonable doubt as a very potent treatment for stopping the spread of cavities in the teeth. Over time, dentists have recorded great success with the application of Silver Diamine Fluoride to teeth for stopping the spread of cavities. Also, there’s continued study to discover ways for the SDF to leave fewer black stains after application.
Kelly Hanock, RDH
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.