Last night I was pleasantly surprised to watch a feature on the PBS News Hour broadcast about the use of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) in dentistry. SDF is nothing new to dentistry, having been used for many years in other countries, but is now thankfully making its way into the mainstream of dentistry in the U.S.
Silver nitrate has been used here for decades, mainly in the past, as a preventive treatment for tooth decay in children and as a chemical agent to cauterize some soft tissue lesions. It has largely fallen out of favor with the advent of newer, and often better, therapies.
SDF on the other hand offers a combination of caries arresting ability through the use of silver with the enamel strengthening effect of fluoride. Originally approved in the U.S. as a desensitizing agent, we have been using it here in the office for the past several years to prevent decay as well.
SDF has been shown to be up to 80% effective in some studies in children at halting decay in primary teeth and is also of benefit in elderly patients and those with disabilities. It is applied directly to the teeth without the need for drilling or anesthesia! The main disadvantage of SDF is that it will permanently stain teeth black, so that often limits situations where it can be used.
As always, I invite you to call with any questions about this novel therapy. Feel free to contact us at Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA at 215-230-7667.