Cavities need treatment. Left untreated, they will grow, penetrating more deeply into the tooth until they eventually reach the interior of the tooth, leading to a serious, potentially deadly infection.
Usually, a filling is recommended for a cavity. However, now at BKS Dental, we have an alternative to offer our patients in Fort Atkinson and surrounding areas: silver diamine fluoride (SDF). SDF can stop the growth of cavities and help repair your teeth. It can also stop discomfort related to your cavities. This makes SDF treatment a great alternative to fillings and dental crowns.
SDF is especially good in family dentistry, where kids might not want to sit still for fillings. It’s also good for treating cavities in baby teeth that are going to be lost soon, but should still be treated in the short term
What Is Silver Diamine Fluoride?
SDF is a simple approach to treating cavities. It’s a liquid that we “paint” on your cavities to stop their growth. Besides water, it’s made up of silver, fluoride, and ammonia.
The silver kills off the bacteria, which are susceptible to it. Fluoride here helps your body rebuild the tooth structure. It speeds up the natural process of remineralization and makes new tooth structures that are stronger and more acid-resistant than before. Ammonia helps make the solution strong enough to be effective.
Benefits of Silver Diamine Fluoride
SDF is a great approach to treating cavities. It means that we can resolve your civities without any need for a drill, anesthesia, or filling. It is:
SDF is a very fast treatment. All we do is paint the cavity. It takes mere seconds to complete. No need to wait for anesthesia to take effect or filling material to set.
Despite being a simple treatment, it’s also highly effective. Cavities painted with SDF stop growing, and, perhaps more importantly, they stop hurting. The combination of killing the bacteria and healing the tooth stops toothaches related to the cavity.
With no drilling and no needles, SDF is about the most comfortable approach to dealing with cavities. This makes it great for people who experience dental anxiety related to other types of dental treatments.
SDF is also a safe approach to treating cavities. Of course, we avoid any potential risks related to fillings, but SDF has no serious health risks, except for people allergic to silver. Although it was only approved by the FDA in 2014, it’s been in use in Japan and other countries for nearly 40 years. No major complications have been reported.
SDF can also be used as a pretreatment to fillings, which helps make them more effective.
Limitations of Silver Diamine Fluoride
However, SDF does come with some drawbacks that mean it might not be the best choice in all circumstances.
First, SDF doesn’t fill the cavity, which means that you might still have a hole in your teeth. This can be a nuisance if food gets stuck in there. If you have a significant cavity, we might recommend a filling.
Second, SDF stains the cavity black. This is a minor cosmetic issue, but if it would be a problem for you, it might be better to treat the cavity with a tooth-colored filling. SDF doesn’t stain the healthy parts of your teeth.
Finally, SDF treatment needs to be repeated every six months to keep a cavity from growing. This isn’t necessary if we use SDF along with a filling.