Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a revolutionary treatment option for the management of dental cavities. It is an antimicrobial liquid that’s able to treat cavities in a non-invasive, fast, affordable, and painless manner.
SDF’s first use dates back to the 1800s as silver nitrate to treat cavities. As time went on, it fell out of favor with the public due to better anesthesia options to deliver “painless” dentistry, and the availability of fluoridated toothpastes, which was expected to eradicate tooth decay. Although fluoride has helped reduce the incidence of tooth decay, it is still widely prevalent.
The Oregon Medicaid System and the University of California-San Francisco, School of Dentistry, have been instrumental in bringing SDF back to the dental field. The FDA approved SDF in August 2014, and it became available in April 2015 to dental professionals as Advantage Arrest by Elevate Oral Care.
SDF takes a different approach from the traditional dental drill. It is a liquid that gets brushed onto the cavity, to stop current tooth decay and help to prevent recurring decay in a quick, affordable, painless, and non-invasive manner.
SDF enables Dr. Chu to offer additional treatment options to patients who are young, fearful, pre-cooperative, have special needs, or are medically compromised. These patients might otherwise require general anesthesia or sedation in order to undergo traditional dental restorations.
Though SDF has very low toxicity, it does stain cavities permanently black. It also does not restore tooth form or function, so after application, the teeth will need to be restored with fillings or crowns. Repeated application of SDF is required for maximum efficacy. SDF cannot be used if the decay has penetrated into the dental nerve, or in the presence of infection.