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Little Bytes Services

Silver Diamine Fluoride

Most parents and kids want to avoid removing part of a tooth to fill a cavity. Unfortunately, that used to be the only option — except for pulling the tooth! Today, an alternative cavity treatment for children is emerging: Silver Diamine Fluoride.
Ask your pediatric dentist in Palo Alto about this topical solution that can treat childhood dental caries.
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What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

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Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a liquid medication that has been FDA-approved. It is used to control dental caries by preventing disease progression.

The traditional way to treat tooth decay is to remove the diseased tissue and place a restoration; however, SDF is a minimally invasive alternative treatment that stops decay and is particularly useful in baby teeth.

Treating your child's teeth with SDF will not replace the need to repair the tooth's function, but it effectively prevents additional decay.

Why Use Silver Diamine Fluoride?

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Our dental team might recommend SDF for treating your child's teeth in these situations:

  • Children with multiple carious lesions that can’t be treated in one visit

  • Young children who struggle to cooperate during treatment

  • Children with severe early childhood caries

  • Patients with special needs

Applying SDF is painless, and most children tolerate the procedure better than traditional treatments.

Is Silver Diamine Fluoride Safe?

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SDF is a safe and effective alternative to treating dental caries, even in young children. However, SDF cannot be used on patients allergic to silver. Patients with canker sores, advanced gum disease, oral ulcerations, or severe tooth decay below the enamel should not be treated with silver diamine fluoride.

Benefits of SDF Treatment

There are many advantages to treating patients with SDF:

  • Stopping the spread of tooth decay

  • Relieving sensitivity

  • Buying time for young, fearful patients or those with special needs

Patients treated with SDF may spend less time in the dental office because this is a quick procedure that doesn't require special equipment.

  • ✓ Stopping the spread of tooth decay

  • ✓ Relieving sensitivity

  • ✓ Buying time for young, fearful patients or those with special needs

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Risks of Being Treated Using Silver Diamine Fluoride

Like any dental procedure, there are risks associated with this treatment for dental caries. Once the liquid is applied, the affected area becomes stained black. This staining can later be resolved by placing a filling or crown. The healthy tooth structure will not change colors.

A white or brown stain may appear if SDF accidentally contacts the skin or gums. This will not cause any damage to the tissue and will disappear within three weeks. Your child may also have a metallic taste that will quickly go away.

There is no guarantee that SDF will stop the decay. If it does not, the decay will continue to harm the tooth and require further treatment. Another round of SDF may be applied, or additional treatment, such as a filling, root canal, or extraction, may be considered.

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Location & Hours

Little Bytes

Tuesday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm

Se Habla Español

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