Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, yet it is very preventable through proper diet and hygienic practices. In spite of prevention efforts, tooth decay remains a significant public health problem. Fortunately, we have a solution that is proven to prevent tooth decay, and even reverse signs of early cavity development—silver diamine fluoride (SDF). To learn more about silver diamine fluoride, please read below or contact our Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY team!
What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Silver diamine fluoride is a chemical compound formed from water, silver, fluoride, and ammonia. Each of these compound materials is responsible for performing a different function:
- The water acts as a liquid base, making the mixture easy to apply.
- The silver kills bacteria that are responsible for decay formation.
- Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel.
- Ammonia enhances the formulation’s effectiveness against cavities.
How Does Silver Diamine Fluoride Work?
Silver diamine fluoride is applied topically to the teeth directly in any areas of concern. Once applied, it immediately begins performing its four primary functions: strengthening the enamel, preventing tooth decay, counteracting current cavity development, and reducing sensitivity.
The fluoride and silver in the solution strengthen the enamel and also increase saliva production, helping to neutralize bacteria and clean the teeth.
- When silver diamine fluoride comes into contact with bacteria, it releases silver ions that kill the bacteria.
- At the same time, the fluoride helps to remineralize the enamel—making it stronger and more resistant to decay.
Together, these two properties make silver diamine fluoride an invaluable resource in the fight against tooth decay.
Who Can Benefit From Silver Diamine Fluoride?
- Silver diamine fluoride is often used as a preventative measure for children who are at high risk for tooth decay. This includes children with special needs who may have difficulty cooperating with traditional dental treatments.
- Silver diamine fluoride can also be used to treat active cavities in children. In this case, the silver in the solution helps to kill bacteria and prevent further decay. The fluoride helps to remineralize the tooth, making it stronger and more resistant to future decay.
- The silver diamine fluoride solution may also be beneficial in treating tooth sensitivity. When the enamel begins its early process of decay, the dentin underneath becomes exposed. This can lead to increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. Silver diamine fluoride helps to protect the dentin and reduce sensitivity.
How Long Does Silver Diamine Fluoride Last?
The silver diamine fluoride solution is typically applied at regular intervals—usually every six months. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to apply the solution more frequently. This is often the case in children who are at high risk for tooth decay or who have active cavities.
An Essential Tool For Practicing Prevention
Fluoride strengthens the enamel on teeth, making them more resistant to the acids that cause decay. These treatments are quick and easy, and can significantly decrease your child’s risk of developing cavities. We want to help ensure that your child has a beautiful, healthy smile for years to come! Ask us about our silver diamine fluoride treatments for your child’s next visit.