Cavities – no one wants them, but a lot of people get them. And if all you think of when you hear “cavity” is the sound of a drill, we wouldn’t blame you. In fact, cavity treatment has been majorly the same for years and years. However, that changed when the FDA finally approved a new (and totally painless) interim treatment for cavities!
Popular in many other countries for decades, Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a topical medicament that completely stops a cavity in its tracks and also has a strong antibacterial effect throughout the mouth. At Madison Family Dental, we couldn’t be more excited about finally being able to offer this treatment. “It is another tool in our tool box and it is always a good idea to have options in the fight against tooth decay,” said Dr. Lori Veerman.
Studies from other countries that have been using this treatment for years, as well as studies here in the United States, show that SDF is very safe and has no real adverse effects on the patient. What’s amazing about this treatment is that it’s painless, quick and affordable – no drill needed here! It also has great antibacterial effects throughout the patient’s mouth long after it is applied, so it can potentially prevent other cavities from ever starting.
This treatment is largely used in patients who are “treatment challenged” by behavioral or medical issues, such as very young or frail elderly patients. However, these aren’t the only uses – patients who already have many other cavities and need their treatment spread out or patients who are at a high risk for cavities, such as people with dry mouth issues, will benefit from SDF greatly. It can also work well for hard to reach root cavities which may allow the dentist to save a tooth that otherwise might have needed to be pulled.
Nothing is perfect, and SDF is no exception to this rule – there are some minor downsides to using this treatment. SDF does not get rid of the cavity — for healthy patients, it acts as an intermediary step to stop the decay until the patient is able and ready to get it drilled out and filled. If a patient is receiving this as a permanent treatment in place of traditionally filling the cavity, it has to be reapplied every six months. Although it stops most cavities from progressing, it doesn’t stop all cavities, and more research is needed to understand why. One of the biggest issues patients find with this treatment is that it turns the cavity black, so it may be a problem due to concerns about appearance. But even with these potential downsides, SDF is still a great interim cavity treatment.
Madison Family Dental is ecstatic about being able to use this product and offer it to our patients. It is a wonderful option for a lot of people who may have had a lot of issues with cavities in the past. If you think SDF may be the best option for you, call us and set up an appointment today!