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Decay Arresting Treatment

Non-Invasive treatment of small to moderate decay with Silver Diamine Fluoride application have children celebrating!

Prime Dental is very excited to announce that we are using Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) to arrest decay and help with tooth sensitivity! A lot of our patients are already benefitting from the use of SDF, especially younger children.

This revolutionary medication has caught everyone’s attention in recent years!

Silver Diamine Fluoride is an FDA-approved antibiotic liquid clinically applied by a dentist to the decayed tooth area to control active dental decay and prevent further development of disease. When SDF is used as a treatment option for decay arrest, the use of dental drill, shots and placement of fillings are delayed or altogether eliminated, especially on baby teeth!

Although the best way to treat teeth with decay is by removing the decay and placing a filling, this alternative non-invasive treatment allows us to stop decay or to slow its progression, particularly with young children that have baby teeth and who cannot stay in the dental chair for extended time or who have dental anxiety.

SDF not only helps to arrest decay development in affected teeth bat also has been shown to lower cavity risk of the adjacent tooth surface. While this medication is being used widely for pediatric dental patients, adult patients and their teeth can greatly benefit from its use as well.

The New York Times recently published an article that discussed the use of silver diamine fluoride as a minimally invasive treatment option for dental caries in children. The article discussed many benefits of silver diamine fluoride, including treating carious teeth without a drill at a lower cost to patients, fewer pediatric hospital visits due to dental emergencies, and improved oral health for nursing home residents.

To insure the best outcome, silver diamine fluoride has to be reapplied approximately every 6 months to the affected areas where tooth decay was present.  Research supports multiple treatments, and caries arrest shouldn’t be expected with a single treatment. The standard regimen is two applications at weekly interval.

When applied to the decayed teeth, Silver diamine fluoride will only stain defects in the tooth structure, such as decayed lesions and filling margins; sound tooth structure will not be stained by silver diamine fluoride.

When is treatment with Silver Diamine Fluoride recommended?

There are several circumstances in which it may be recommend. Those include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Children who may have excessive decay (severe early childhood caries) and who cannot stay in dental chair for the decay to be removed with the drill.
  • Young children who have difficulty cooperating for treatment
  • Special needs patients
  • Children with carious lesions that may not all be treated in one visit
  • Adults who do not want to have restorations/fillings done due to financial reasons

What are the benefits of SDF?

Silver Diamine Fluoride is an effective and non-invasive fluoride treatment for kids and adults whose cavities cannot otherwise be treated at one time. It is also recommend for children with disabilities or those who are unable to sit for longer cavity treatments. Benefits of the SDF use include:

  • Non-invasive
  • Quick treatment time
  • Painless
  • Effective cavity prevention
  • Slows down or stops tooth decay
  • Relieves tooth sensitivity in deep decay lesions.

Are there cons associated with Silver Diamine Fluoride?

There are some cons associated with the use of SDF, which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Any decayed areas of the teeth will stain black. Healthy tooth structure will not stain. Stained tooth structures can be later replaced with a filling or crown when patient is ready for more advanced procedures. SDF may discolor dental fillings and crowns.
  • If Silver Diamine Flouride is applied to skin or gums, a temporary brown or white stain may appear on the area. The stain cannot be washed off and resembles henna tattoo, but it is harmless and will disappear within a few days to three weeks.
  • SDF has a bitter taste if it is splashed on the tongue. The patient may notice a metallic taste after an application. This will go away quickly.
  • While every reasonable effort is made by the dentist to ensure the success of the treatment of decay with SDF application, there is a risk that the procedure will not stop the decay if it progressed into the deeper tooth structure, and no guarantee of success is granted or implied.

If the tooth decay is not arrested, the decay will progress. In that case the tooth will require further dental treatment such as further Silver Diamine Fluoride application, dental fillings, root canal therapy, or extraction.

These side effects may not include all of the possible situations reported by the manufacturer. If you notice other effects, please contact your dentist.

You should not be treated with Silver Diamine Fluoride if:

  • You are allergic to silver
  • There are painful sores or raw areas on your gums (i.e. ulcerative gingivitis) or anywhere in your mouth (i.e. stomatitis)
  • If patient already have an infection due to extensive decay spread in the tooth, and experiences pain or swelling.

To learn more about SDF and how we can help you and your children, please call and schedule an appointment with Prime Dental 724 547 0690. We look forward to meeting you soon!

References:

UCSF Protocol for Caries Arrest Using Silver Diamine Fluoride: Rationale, Indications, and Consent. Jeremy A Horst,1,2 Hellene Ellenikiotis,1 UCSF Silver Caries Arrest Committee, and Peter M Milgrom https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4778976/

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