What is SDF and how is it applied?
SDF is a liquid medicine applied to cavities in order to stop their growth. The tooth with the cavity is dried and the SDF is placed with a small brush. The SDF remains on the tooth for 1 minute then is gently dried with gauze. Fluoride varnish is placed over the SDF in order to disguise the metallic taste.
How Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) works
SDF is a 38% solution made of about 25% silver and 5.5% fluoride. The silver is an antimicrobial which kills the bacteria in the cavity. The fluoride re-mineralizes or hardens the tooth structure that was damaged by the bacteria. As the silver enters into the cavity and kills the bacteria, the decayed tooth structure will turn dark black in color. This indicates that the SDF has penetrated the cavity.
Who can use SDF?
Patients of any age can use SDF. Since SDF does not require any numbing or drilling and is very fast to apply, it is often used on very young children in order to buy time until the child is able to tolerate fillings or crowns. It is also used on special needs patients and patients with high anxiety who are unable to handle traditional dental care.