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Silver Diamine Fluoride- The Best Treatment For Cavities?
Silver diamine fluoride or SDF is a liquid substance used for preventing caries or tooth cavities from growing, forming, or spreading to the adjacent teeth. SDF is made of several components mixed to create a powerful and effective liquid solution.
Four main components present in SDF include:
- Silver- It helps kill the bacterias
- Water- It provides a liquid base overall to the solution or mixture formed.
- Fluoride- It helps the teeth rebuild all the materials that are originally made of, also known as remineralization.
- Ammonia- It helps the solution to remain concentrated so that it proves to be maximally effective against the resonance of cavities in teeth.
SDF has approved for its usage in japan nearly 80 years ago. It was approved by the Food and drug administration in the US in the year 2014. SDF is also considered to be class ll medical revise. This means that Silver diamine fluoride only carries minor risks (for example pregnancy tests and condoms also fall under the category of class ll medical devices).
It is also sold in few stores for its usage at home but mostly you will find Silver diamine fluoride in dental clinics where the doctors will help you determine how to use it and if it is good to be used in your condition.
Let’s see various details about Silver diamine fluoride so you can determine to use it or not.
How is Silver diamine fluoride used?
Most dentists in their clinics used a liquid form of Silver diamine fluoride-containing nearly 38% of the Silver diamine fluoride solution. It is a topical solution meaning that you can apply it to the teeth’ surface directly.
Dentists use these steps to apply a Silver diamine fluoride solution:
- They use gauze or cotton near the teeth affected to prevent any saliva from moistening your teeth.
- Moisture is removed from teeth surface handling a vacuumed suction tool.
- Silver diamine fluoride is applied to the area where the cavity is prominent.
The dentists might also use any of the following to mask the cavity affected area in your teeth for better function:
- A glass ionomer.
SDF is commonly used in the areas where cavities lied with the teeth. Research suggests that the Silver diamine fluoride can be helpful when it is applied earlier for preventing cavities to healthy tooth surface rather than using it as a treatment.
Research has also indicated that dentists do not require to treat the cavities with tooth surface or tooth filling modifications before using Silver diamine fluoride.
Traditionally, dentists used fluoride varnish for stopping the development o cavity in teeth. Silver diamine fluoride has been proven to be immensely successful at reducing and preventing the growth of the cavity than using varnish. Silver diamine fluoride also needed less treatment compared to other cavity treatments over time.
There is no particular number of applications you must need for the Silver diamine fluoride to work fully. Most dentists only use Silver diamine fluorideSilver diamine fluoride once a year. Varnishes however require to be sued after every 4 to 5 months in a year.
Silver diamine fluoride effect on your oral hygiene
Let’s see what are the benefits Silver diamine fluoride has on your teeth even when it is used once a year only:
- SDF is effective widely t help stop and treat the cavities from forming. Dentists call this procedure caries resonance.
- Silver diamine fluoride help kill various bacterias that are responsible for breaking down the teeth’ surface and also helps to prevent them from spreading further to other teeth.
- SDF is suggested often as a comfortable alternative to drilling cavities. This could be useful for children or adults who get anxious when the dots engage in dental procedures with tools and special healthcare needs.
- SDF is also useful as a cavity treatment if you are highly sensitive to the substance and instruments sued in the treatment of cavities.
- SDF also helps keep your cavities to a minimum and helps to prevent them fully if you feel it is hard to take time for regular dentists’ appointments about removing cavities. It is a quick treatment and needs special equipment. Generally, it is highly effective even after applying it just once a year.
Side effects of Silver diamine fluoride
All the medications and drugs sued have some sort of side effects associated with them. Silver diamine fluoride can also have few harmful side effects. It is widely considered safe by all dentists even for small children.
However, you should not use Silver diamine fluoride if you have an allergy to silver, canker sores, oral ulcerations, advanced gum diseases, and major decays in the tooth. Also, it is not meant to be used if you have major tooth decay that is exposed to the soft tissues of your teeth. These conditions can have a highly painful reaction with ammonia or acids.
The most common side effect of silver diamine fluoride is blackly straining around the area in your teeth where it is topically applied. SDF can also be the surfaces that it comes in contact with after applied such as nearby tissues in the mouth or your clothes.
Some researchers also recommend using potassium iodide along with SDF so that staining is kept at a minimum even if it occurs. This mixture might turn black too when it is exposed to light.
One study suggests that using an NSF or nanosilver fluoride limits black staining caused by SDF. However, more researches are needed to make sure that NSF is as effective as SDF in terms of working against cavities over a long period of time.
MSF might have to be applied more often than silver diamine fluoride to have the same level of success in teeth.
Application of Silver diamine fluoride
The actual application of SDF is painless and incredibly quick, unlike other dental procedures. Here are the steps that your dentists may use:
- The area is first cleaned before applying. All dental procedures need a hygienic and clean mouth to be effective and safe. The dentists will first remove dirt and debris from the cavitation of your tooth to make sure the solution makes the best contact possible with the affected area. This involves removing food debris, plaque, or some city too.
- The area is then isolated. In the process, your lips and skin are highly susceptible to straining, due to this the desist usually applies a protective coating of vaseline to lips and skin. They will also isolate the area of treatment using cotton rolls or some other objects. Gums are also protected using cocoa butter or petroleum jelly.
- After completing all these, SDF is then applied. When your mouth is prepared completely, it is now time for dentists to apply SDF using a micro brush with dry gauze or compressed air. They will simply dip the brush taken into the SDF solution and then remove excess liquid. Then the SDF is applied.
- A single drop of solution is more than enough to treat as many as 8 teeth at once. The application will only need a minute or so. The time is even shorter for young patients who are less able to keep still for a long time. To allow the SDF to set, dentists will apply gentle airflow until the solution completely dries.
Cost of silver diamine fluoride
According to the Association of state and territorial dental director’s presentation, the average cost of applying an SDF is nearly 75 dollars for one treatment. This costs nearly 20 to 25 dollars per tooth. Looking at its effectiveness and one-time usage fr the entire year, it is cost-effective.
SDF might also be covered by certain health insurance plans or it may be eligible for FSA (flexible spending accounts) available from healthcare providers as it is a class ll medical device.
In addition to this, many states are offering medical plans to cover silver diamine fluoride treatment. A growing number of states have either proposed or yet considering adding SDF to Medicaid-sponsored healthcare plans and other govt healthcare plans.
Do’s And Dont’s of silver diamine fluoride
Here are some dos and don’ts that you must know before using silver diamine fluoride or going for treatment in clinics for your child with cavities.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Educate the patients about silver fluoride. Silver diamine fluoride might stain the carious tooth structure to form a black or dark brown color. Caution must be taken on a nearby tooth and margins on the mouth. Explain all the risks of discoloration before applying SDF.
- You must always wear protective eyewear and cover any clothing in the neck area and head.
- Although it looks odorless ad odorless, it still may stain the areas. never wipe SDF if it falls on the skin. Instead, blot the areas using 3% peroxide and soap solution.
SDF vs Drilling and Filling
Silver fluoride treatment is considered one of the best alternative treatments to filling cavities in teeth. SDF is the least invasive procedure out of all the filling options for cavities in babies. Classic filling treatment needs an hour at the clinic’s office with a long procedure. The teeth, gums, and other susceptible areas are first numb to prevent any pain.
The decay is then drilled by the dentists out the affected tooth and dental paste is inserted for cavities made of a substance called silver amalgam along with composite resin and certain other materials used.
While fillings are short relatively, they can be slightly scary especially for children. The sound of the drill itself causes panic ad anxiousness. The drilling process should be precise especially when it is done for smaller teeth, so there might be certain cooperation that must be met to avoid harming.
The complete filling procedure can sound stressful but to restore teeth in a long time it is necessary. SDF does not restore teeth, instead, it works as a solution that stops the gap while waiting for a child’s baby teeth to fall out.
The Bottom Line
Silver diamine fluoride is entirely safe with very few side effects and risks. It is a painless alternative to cavity drilling procedure sued traditionally. Your dentists may or may not request SDF for cavities in some cases. Also, it is not available widely in all the clinics unlike other treatments such as fluoride varnish. This treatment is especially good for children as a great alternative to painful drilling procedures where the child is not able to cooperate.
Now you can decide if you wish to go for a silver diamine fluoride treatment or not.
SDF still has been proved to be successful in stopping the development and spread of cavities.