Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an antimicrobial liquid that is used to treat hypersensitivity, dental decay, and cavities. It is brushed directly onto the cavity to stop decay and is a painless procedure. This may be a good treatment option for cavities in young children or special needs patients, as SDF can delay more extensive procedures like drilling or sedation. We think of SDF as a band-aid treatment option – it is not a permanent solution to a cavity, but buys the patient time while keeping decay from worsening until a child is old enough for treatment to be more successful, or if the baby tooth falls out.
One downside to SDF is that it blackens the decayed part of the tooth, leaving it discolored. Because SDF is not a permanent solution, the tooth will still need to be monitored by your dentist to ensure the cavity is not growing. But – if the cavity is on a baby tooth which will eventually fall out, or if the tooth is in the back of the mouth and difficult to see, SDF may be a good option.
White fillings and crowns are sometimes placed over teeth that were treated with SDF to reinforce stability of the tooth and mask discoloration.