Preventative dental care, such as x-rays and regular cleanings, is important for your child's oral health since the dentist can catch cavities and other issues early on. One aspect of preventive dental care that you may be looking into is silver diamine fluoride treatments. Read on to learn more about these treatments and how they could help your child.
What is Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)?
SDF is an FDA-approved product that can halt the progression of cavities. SDF is mainly composed of two ingredients: fluoride and silver. You've likely heard of fluoride, as it is a mineral that's in fluoridated water, and fluoride varnish is used to strengthen teeth. The silver in SDF acts like an anti-microbial agent and helps to eliminate bad bacteria that may be causing tooth decay. One study found that SDF was an effective treatment for preventing caries in primary teeth. SDF isn't a cure-all to tooth decay, as serious cavities may require crowns or root canals, but it's a great treatment to prevent the spread of early decay.
Which Children Need it?
Ultimately, only your dentist can tell you whether your child could benefit from silver diamine fluoride treatments. Some children may do fine with preventative treatments like fluoride varnishes and sealants. In general, children that could benefit from SDF treatments include the following:
- Those with disabilities that make it difficult to properly brush and floss
- Those who are uncooperative with at-home care
- Those who have experienced excessive decay in the past
- Those who have multiple teeth which are affected by cavities
- Those who have cavities that cannot be treated in one dental visit
Again, your dentist can give you more details about the pros and cons of SDF treatments for your child.
How is it Applied?
If your child does need SDF treatment, the good news is that it's a quick and painless procedure. Your dentist will brush, floss, and rinse your child's teeth to prepare for the application. The dentist will then dry all over the teeth completely to make sure saliva and plaque aren't trapped between the enamel and the SDF. The dentist will then paint the liquid SDF onto affected areas of decay with a small brush and then use a curing light to harden the mixture. There are few side effects to SDF, but your child's teeth and gums may have some temporary staining and notice a metallic taste after application. If your child has a metal allergy, then the dentist may recommend a simple fluoride varnish instead.
Reach out to a dentist in your area today to learn more about more preventative dental care services like this.