As a parent in the Fairfax County, VA, area, when you take your child to the dentist one of your goals could be minimizing their exposure to potentially harmful materials. At Merrifield Pediatric Dentistry, that’s why we offer silver diamine fluoride (SDF) treatments as a safe cavity fighting alternative for very young patients. Dubbed as a “magic bullet” for cavities in kids, SDF has long been safely used in other countries. Fortunately, SDF is now approved for patient use in the U.S. under the direction of a board-certified pediatric dentist like Dr. Monamie Ghatak.
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)
How Would SDF Benefit My Child?
The primary purpose of SDF is to stop cavities from progressing. It does not restore tooth damage, like holes in the enamel. SDF will also not totally prevent future breakage, nor improve a damaged tooth’s function. So how does SDF benefit your child’s teeth? For starters, Dr. Ghatak has found that SDF can keep an existing cavity from getting larger. Secondly, SDF is completely safe to use on the teeth of younger children, including toddlers.
And finally, it’s a great stop gap treatment option until your child is old enough to have a restorative procedure without getting scared. In many cases, and because of its cavity growth- inhibiting qualities, SDF has helped our very young patients totally eliminate the need for sedation or general anesthesia later on! At Merrifield Pediatric Dentistry, we use SDF to safely treat:
- Front teeth with deep cavities that might fall out within the next two years
- Pre-cooperative children with cavities on the chewing surfaces of their teeth
- Children of all ages with small pit/fissure cavities located on the chewing surfaces or their primary (baby) molars
- Teeth that are otherwise cavity free that have enamel hypoplasia, which means they are very sensitive to heat and cold
- Very young children with visible, shallow cavities in their mouth. That’s because SDF will help stop the cavity from progressing, while delaying the need for more invasive treatment until the child is older!
How is Silver Diamine Fluoride Applied?
Once your child is relaxing comfortably in one of our private rooms, a hygienist will apply the SDF liquid using a small paintbrush. They will then brush and scrub your child’s teeth for up to two minutes to ensure that the liquid has penetrated the cavity area thoroughly. For more cooperative kids, we will first drill out as much of the cavity as possible without using anesthesia. This further allows for a deeper penetration of the SDF solution.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Using SDF?
Overall, there are very few drawbacks to using SDF! Before applying SDF to a patient’s teeth, we carefully explain any potential disadvantages to using the product with their parent/guardian. Here are the two main ones that could potentially occur:
- Cavity turns black. This is the most common and noticeable disadvantage, although it actually means that the SDF has slowed the cavity’s progression.
- Brown stains on surrounding teeth. Totally reversible, these brown stains will wash out and go away within a few weeks with regular brushing and flossing.
In addition, we always remind parents that SDF does not structurally repair the tooth. As a result, an already damaged (cavity) tooth that gets treated with SDF will eventually need to be cosmetically restored when the child is old enough.
Articles on Silver Diamine Fluoride
SDF Treatments with Merrifield Pediatric Dentistry
When your young child has a cavity, a silver diamine fluoride (SDF) treatment is a safe and reliable way to keep it from progressing. At Merrifield Pediatric Dentistry, SDF treatments are just one of the affordable pediatric dentistry services that we provide to families in the Fairfax County, VA, area. To find out if your child is a candidate for the many benefits that an SDF treatment provides, schedule an appointment with board-certified pediatric dentist Dr. Monamie Ghatak today by calling Merrifield Pediatric Dentistry in Dunn Loring at: 571-293-1668!