Nobody looks forward to having a cavity drilled and filled by a dentist. Now there’s an alternative: an antimicrobial liquid that can be brushed on cavities to stop tooth decay — painlessly. The liquid is called silver diamine fluoride, or S.D.F, recommended by American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry (AAPD) in their 2017 practice guidelines.

It can be used for initial decay of teeth in very young children who might not cooperate for an extensive dental treatment procedure involving anaesthesia, drilling and filling the tooth. It is especially useful in children with special needs. 

S.D.F. halts the progression of cavities and also reduces the occurrence rate of new cavities. S.D.F. solution was found to be effective for caries reduction in primary teeth and first permanent molars in six-year-old school children observed over a period of 36 months in a study conducted by Llodra JC et al in 2005.

Decaying four front teeth, before and after application of S.D.F. in a 2-year-old child

The main deterrent for its use is that it discolours the tooth to a charcoal black colour. Few parents are reluctant to accept this treatment as it makes the teeth and the child's smile less attractive. But many parents agree to the treatment as it means no general anaesthesia and less time on the dental chair while also reducing the probability of any new decay. So, the choice is between aesthetics and an invasive dental procedure.

Silver Diamine Fluoride - An Overview

Advantages - Painless, No drilling, No injection, Faster, Cheaper, Less trauma to the child, Non-Invasive    

Disadvantages - Causes Black discolouration of teeth 

Cannot be used in - Patients with mouth sores, Silver allergy, Severe cavities-huge holes that trap food and plaque

Alternatives-  Treatment under General / Local Anaesthesia, Tooth drilled and filled

Which will you select?

Ask your Paediatric Dentist if S.D.F. is an option for your little one's teeth today!