Fluoride…The Good, The Bad…and the Ugly
At The Brush Stop Pediatric Dentistry, we are all about giving parents options. We feel it’s important to really have a say in your child’s health! Lucky for us, we now have one more weapon in our suit of armor to help in the fight against dental disease. I’d love to take a moment to introduce you all to an old, but very good friend of ours, Silver Diamine Fluoride.
What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Silver Diamine Fluoride, or as the cool kids call it, “SDF”, is an antimicrobial liquid that assists in stopping a cavity get out of control. It has been used widely over decades throughout the world, and has recently come to the US. It was originally marketed and used for its ability to treat enamel hypersensitivity, and has received recognition over the years for other benefits, including slowing/stopping the progression of cavities.
SDF is applied carefully into the area of the cavity, and placed for approximately one minute. SDF may need to be applied up to three times in a span of 6 weeks in order to be fully effective. The silver component acts as an antimicrobial agent, killing bacteria and preventing the formation of new biofilm.
This is a great option for kids who are too young for conventional treatment, or just old enough that a baby tooth will fall out in a few months, and doesn’t want to risk an infection. It’s also a great option for a lot of medically compromised/special needs kids, who for one reason or another aren’t able to undergo conventional treatment.
Now for the ugly…
The biggest disadvantage to silver diamine fluoride is the esthetics. It stains the cavity BLACK.
But in many instances where treatment needs to be delayed, or for medically compromised and special needs children, the benefits outweigh the esthetic shortcoming. The other “downside” is the smell while SDF is being placed. It smells like ammonia, and to many children, the smell is intolerable. Lastly, SDF does not restore the “form or function” of the tooth. This means that if there is a large hole in a tooth, that tooth is still susceptible to fracture without some form of filling to help restore the tooth down the line.
So while it is not the “end all”, it does serve as an option for some patients who may not be able to complete conventional treatment due to medical, or other underlying circumstances.
If you are interested to learn more, call The Brush Stop Pediatric Dentistry today at 760-635-5995.