At Williamson Pediatric Dentistry, we are proud to be a dental provider offering Silver Diamine Fluoride services to our patients. Silver diamine fluoride (SDF), is a combination of two different medications, silver nitrate, and sodium fluoride. Its primary indication was originally for the treatment of hypersensitivity, however, it was also noted that when applied to small cavities, it did two things. 1) The silver actually helped kill the bacteria in the cavity while 2) the fluoride helped remineralize and harden the tooth structure. This has allowed dentists to start utilizing this medication to manage small cavities using a more medicinal approach versus the traditional “drill and fill” approach.
If your child has cavities already, SDF can still help in different ways. If the cavities are small enough, they may be able to be treated w/SDF alone. If the cavities are more moderate to large in size, but not affecting the nerve of the tooth and the teeth are not showing signs of discomfort, a modified approach can be utilized when filling the tooth. At first, you can treat the cavity with typically 1 to 2 doses of SDF. When this is done, any areas of decay treated with SDF will discolor to a dark black color and will typically become harder to the touch. This lets the dentist see where the cavity has absorbed the medication and determine whether or not a filling, sealant, or crown is needed. In addition to the SDF starting to kill the bacteria, it is also desensitizing that tooth structure. Once the 1 or 2 applications of SDF are placed, the dentist can typically go back into the cavity and gently clean out the decay using hand instruments or a handpiece and safely remove the decay without having to numb the patient in most cases. When a filling is performed over the area previously treated w/ SDF, it is called a SMART restoration. In some cases, a crown will serve the tooth better for a longer period of time. If this is needed, dependent on the size of the decay and the behavior of the patient, we can utilize a procedure called the Hall technique, where a crown is placed over the baby tooth with minimal need to remove decay after the SDF is placed. The key to successful treatment with SDF is specific case selection, and Dr. Drew can review with you the best options to achieve a successful outcome.
For more information about SDF services or to schedule a consultation or new patient visit with us, please contact us today at (615) 614-2424.