Silver Fluoride In Dental Care

A tooth covered in silver contrasted against a white background.

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) has long been used outside the US in dental treatment, and has been gaining popularity in the US since its approval by the FDA. It was cleared for use in 2014 by the FDA to support the treatment of dental sensitivity in adults over age 21.  The “off-label” use, or use by a trained medical professional,  includes topical application for all ages to stop the progression of cavities.

What is Silver Fluoride?

Silver Fluoride is a professional-grade tooth desensitizer available by prescription only. It works by blocking nerve impulses and using calcium to fill small holes in your tooth.
It is NOT recommended for people with ulcerative gingivitis or stomatitis. Patients with a true allergy to silver, which is rare, should consider another option as well.

How is Silver Fluoride used?

Silver fluoride can help minimize air and ice sensitivity. It is also an antimicrobial that halts tooth decay and/or cavities. Silver fluoride is not a replacement for fillings or crowns, but offers support in certain cases of decay and sensitivity. We can apply SDF topically every 6-12 months.

Silver has long been used as an antimicrobial in many forms. Silver Diamine Fluoride, it helps fight bacteria on, and in, the tooth material. Fluoride remineralizes the teeth, and when the two are used together, the silver fluoride increases mineral density of the treated lesion while fighting new bacteria by creating a barrier against acid, proteins and enzymes that can further break the tooth down.

When is Silver Fluoride the right treatment?

Because of its ability to stop decay with a quick topical application, SDF may be the right choice for a child’s cavity in a non-permanent tooth. Alternately, SDF is often used in special needs patients who may not tolerate a filling procedure. Though treatment with a potassium iodide solution or polishing reduces staining, there be some discoloration of the area where it is applied. So this treatment may not be right for all areas and situations.

Silver Fluoride is used to 1. Prevent further tooth decay and 2. Reduce tooth sensitivity. Silver fluoride isn’t right for all people, or all decay locations. A visit to your dentist can help you understand the option of silver fluoride in your dental health care.

Peter McIntyre DDS is an office of premier Colorado Springs Dentists ready to serve you and your family’s dental health needs. We invite you to learn more about us by giving us a call today!

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