Silver topical agents such as silver nitrate and silver diamine fluoride have been used in Japan for over 40 years to arrest tooth decay and reduce tooth sensitivity in primary and permanent teeth.
Maybe you have heard of it? A fair number of parents in our office are asking about silver diamine fluoride (SDF) and how it might be used to treat tooth decay. Traditionally, when a tooth has a cavity a dentist would recommend that the tooth be filled. In the field of pediatric dentistry, one can appreciate certain barriers to this recommendation such as behavioral issues due to age, limited cooperation, or special healthcare needs.
SDF can be applied to cavities to help strengthen remaining tooth structure (fluoride) and to disinfect the site (silver). A noticeable side effect of the solution is unsightly discoloration. The cavity will turn black, which is very obvious when SDF is used to manage decay on the front teeth.
Current research reports that SDF stops nearly 70% of tooth decay with one application and nearly 90% with two applications. Please understand that stopping tooth decay DOES NOT mean that the cavity is gone. Tooth decay is a dynamic process that can still progress to pain and infection even after the solution is applied.
Dr. Perusini does support the use of SDF as part of an overall treatment plan in the management of early childhood caries. Like any proposed treatment SDF has its limitations and it may not be appropriate in certain situation. As always, Dr. Perusini will sit down with you to discuss the pros, cons, risks and benefits of the solution.
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