Unfortunately, cavities and tooth decay are incredibly common for children and teenagers.
More than half of children ages 6-8 have had at least one cavity in their primary (baby) teeth, and more than half of young people ages 12-19 have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While cavities may be common, they’re not inevitable. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental care can dramatically reduce the risk of developing cavities and other oral health problems. At Oasis Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics in Falls Church, Virginia, Nathalie Phaeton, DDS, and Ki Youn Kil, DDS, offer a range of pediatric dentistry services that can help keep your children’s teeth healthy.
One service they offer is treatment with silver diamine fluoride (SDF). This substance can help fight cavities and prevent them from developing in the first place. In this blog, our providers explain more about what SDF is and some of its many benefits.
The basics of silver diamine fluoride
Silver diamine fluoride, which is painted onto the teeth, can help prevent cavities from developing, and it can also keep cavities that are already present from getting worse.
The antibiotic liquid consists of silver, fluoride, and ammonia. In short, the silver is able to kill bacteria, the fluoride is able to remineralize teeth, and the ammonia is able to stabilize teeth.
While the treatment can stop a cavity from getting worse for months at a time, it can’t cure it. So if your child has a cavity, especially if it’s in one of their permanent teeth, your provider will likely recommend a permanent restoration at some point, such as a filling or crown.
5 benefits of silver diamine fluoride
Treating teeth with SDF comes with many benefits. Here are five of them:
1. It’s noninvasive
Silver diamine fluoride is a liquid compound that your child’s provider applies directly to their teeth. Unlike dental fillings, SDF treatments don’t require drilling or other invasive treatments, since the cavity isn’t removed from the tooth.
This makes it an especially good alternative to fillings for patients with special needs, a low threshold for pain, or difficulty sitting through longer and more involved dental procedures. And since there’s no drilling involved, there’s no need for needles or numbing.
2. It’s less expensive
Silver diamine fluoride treatments cost less and are more affordable than other dental treatments. While your child may need to have the tooth fully restored in the future depending on the size and severity of the cavity, SDF is a practical and effective solution that can buy time and save money in the short term.
3. It helps keep cavities from getting bigger
A SDF treatment can neutralize a cavity for months. This can preserve the remaining healthy portions of the tooth.
4. It helps protect teeth from new cavities
In addition to halting the progression of existing cavities, SDF can also protect your child’s teeth from developing new cavities. So besides taking your child to regular dental checkups and making sure they brush and floss regularly, SDF treatments can add an extra layer of protection to help keep their teeth healthy.
5. It’s safe
Silver diamine fluoride treatments are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Furthermore, SDF has been used worldwide for more than 80 years.
Our dentists may also recommend dental sealants. Sealants can add an additional layer of protection against cavities and also make it easier for your child to brush their teeth. This is because dental sealants, which go on the back teeth, fill in the gaps in the chewing surfaces, thereby making the chewing surfaces flatter and easier to brush.
To learn more about silver diamine fluoride and how it may be able to help your child, or to learn about any of our other pediatric dentistry services, call 703-483-9933 or book an appointment online with Oasis Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics today.