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Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF): A Cavity Fighting Liquid?!

Jul 13, 2016

Hand of dentist holding dental drill machine with turbine

The New York Times recently highlighted a new dental product to the US, Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF), as “A Cavity Fighting Liquid (that) Lets Kids Avoid the Dental Drill.”  While SDF has been popular in Japan for quite some time, this product recently got FDA approval to be used in the US.  It comes as a liquid and is painted on the areas with decay – easy, right? The exact mechanism of action is not yet fully understood, but the idea is that SDF is able to stop the progression of cavities by killing the bacteria the causes decay. There is also fluoride in SDF which helps to remineralize the teeth.

In my opinion, SDF has its merits and could be useful for very little kids with cavities (ie: precooperative children) or children with special needs who may not be able to sit for traditional fillings. However, SDF also has its limitations, specifically that it turns the decay a black color (see picture below) and is only really appropriate for small cavities since it cannot fill in any “holes” the cavities may create.



Overall, traditional fillings are still excellent and have been found through the trials of time and research to be very effective at restoring teeth back to health. Since SDF is so new to the US, the jury is still out on its efficacy and use. But, we always welcome new advances in dental technology, especially once they are proven to be effective, safe, and helpful for the kiddos.

© 2014 Dr. Jennifer Fountain, DDS.
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