Cavities and toothaches can make even the happiest kids feel down. We can help turn those frowns upside-down with gentle treatment options like silver diamine fluoride.
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a non-invasive alternative to fillings. SDF treatment doesn’t require any drills or shots, and takes only a few minutes. Your child’s pediatric dentist will simply paint some special liquid onto the affected tooth. This liquid seals and strengthens the tooth, protecting it from further decay. If your child has a cavity, fillings may not be their only option!
51% of kids between the ages of 5-11 have at least one cavity. If left untreated, cavities can lead to further complications like tooth infections.
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Before we can treat cavities and soft spots with SDF, we must first identify them with diagnostic images. At our practice, we use fully digital x-rays to minimize exposure to radiation and increase patient comfort.
Rest assured that your child is receiving top-notch, specialized care with our Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist. To be recognized by The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, doctors must undergo extensive training in the pediatric field in addition to their standard dental degrees.
The FDA recognizes silver diamine fluoride as a Class II medical device and it is cleared for use in tooth sensitivity, just like fluoride varnish. You can rest assured that your child is being treated with only the highest-quality, safest materials.
Treatment Plan Evaluation
We understand that you want to understand all of your child’s options before proceeding. That’s why we are happy to extend second opinions. If you’ve recently gotten a treatment plan from another office that you’re not sure of, feel free to bring it by!
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SDF doesn’t require any drilling of the tooth. That also means there’s no need for a numbing needle. Needles and drills can be tough for kids to handle, so SDF means less fuss, no crying, and an easier overall treatment process.
Including tooth preparation, it only takes a few minutes to treat each tooth with SDF. Then, once it’s in place, your child’s pediatric dentist will reapply it as necessary during their routine six-month preventive visits.
SDF is significantly cheaper than fillings, particularly for patients who may not have insurance. If you’re on a tight budget and your child qualifies, opting for SDF can give your budget some breathing room.
First, your child’s dentist will carefully clean and dry your little one’s mouth near the treatment area. They may also apply a protective coating to your child’s lips to prevent temporary staining.
Next, your child’s pediatric dentist will use a tiny brush to apply the SDF mixture, which is made of silver, ammonia, fluoride, and water. This halts the progression of your child’s cavity and protects their tooth. Then, your dentist will dry the tooth. They may also choose to apply full-mouth fluoride treatment after SDF to protect your child’s mouth.
Most patients require periodic reapplication of SDF until their primary tooth falls out. Your child’s pediatric dentist will examine their mouth and reapply SDF, if needed, every six months during their routine cleanings and oral exams.
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By painting SDF onto your child’s tooth, your doctor can effectively stop the progression of tooth decay. SDF does this by simultaneously killing bacteria and remineralizing the tooth. The minerals in the SDF solution (silver and fluoride) penetrate the tooth structure and “fill in” the gaps where the tooth enamel has been eaten away by plaque and tartar.
SDF is effective for treating teeth that have soft spots, or the beginning stages of a cavity, but it does not work on open cavities, or more severe tooth decay. This is because when the tooth has been damaged enough to create an open cavity, the tooth will need to be filled to restore the shape and structure of the tooth, which SDF can not do.
No, SDF treatment does not hurt. Since silver diamine fluoride requires no removal of the enamel, it is not usually painful. If any of the SDF liquid comes in contact with the gums, tongue, or lips your child may experience a slight tingling sensation. However, when SDF is carefully applied by an experienced dentist, this is unlikely. At our office, we use small brushes to ensure precise application.
With regular reapplications and proper at-home oral care, it may be possible for your child to avoid additional treatment if the silver diamine fluoride is being applied to a baby tooth. Ideally, the SDF would halt the progression of the tooth decay until the baby tooth can fall out naturally on its own. This is usually the case, but sometimes if a cavity is too deep or too far advanced, SDF may not be enough.
If SDF is being used on an adult tooth, it is likely that it is just being used as a preventive measure to hold off additional restorative treatment, such as a dental filling or root canal, until your child is old enough to undergo treatment without the need of sedation.
While some insurance policies are starting to cover silver diamine fluoride, many still do not. It is important to check with your provider to ensure you understand your dental insurance benefits and coverage before proceeding with treatment. Oftentimes, SDF can be a more cost-effective treatment than many other restorative procedures, so even if it is not covered by your dental insurance plan, it may be a good idea to invest in your child’s teeth upfront in order to avoid more costly procedures down the line.