Oh no! You just discovered that your child has a cavity that needs to be treated. Before you automatically jump to conclusions and assume that your child is going to have to sit through drilling, filling, and sedation, you might want to look into a relatively new treatment option for cavities – silver diamine fluoride.
What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Silver diamine fluoride is a thin liquid that can be used to stop the progression of tooth decay that is causing a cavity. The liquid is quickly and painlessly brushed onto the area where the cavity is forming. Once the growth of the tooth decay is stopped, the cavity will not grow in size.
The Benefits of Silver Diamine Fluoride
The use of silver diamine fluoride is growing in popularity due to its numerous benefits. Some of the benefits of this non-invasive procedure include:
- No need for sedation – the procedure takes seconds so there is no need to sedate a child to make them sit still
- No drilling involved
- Painless – fluoride is brushed onto the tooth and most children barely notice it
- High success rate – silver diamine fluoride has a high success rate when it comes to stopping the progression of a cavity
The Downside to Silver Diamine Fluoride
Like any dental procedure, there are benefits and drawbacks to choosing to use silver diamine fluoride to treat your child’s cavity.
The first major drawback is discoloration. When the silver diamine fluoride is brushed onto the tooth, it actively works to stop tooth decay that is causing the cavity. The area where the cavity was will turn a dark blackish color. This discoloration won’t harm your child’s oral health, but it could make them feel self-conscious if the large black stain is visible when your child smiles.
Another downside to using silver diamine fluoride to treat cavities is the need to monitor the cavity. Your child’s dentist will need to regularly monitor the area where the silver diamine fluoride was applied. The dentist will be looking for any signs that the tooth decay has continued to spread and is causing additional cavities.
Other drawbacks include:
- Inability to fully restore the strength of the tooth
- Need to have the fluoride reapplied
- Problems may develop with your child’s bite if they continue to avoid the area where the cavity was while eating and chewing
Who is a Good Candidate for the Use of Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Silver diamine fluoride may be a good treatment option for cavities if your child has any of the following features:
- Younger children – this non-invasive cavity treatment option is great for younger children who may not be able to sit still for the entire filling process. Instead of having them sedated, this non-invasive procedure allows for the cavity to be properly treated
- Special needs or sensory disorders – children who may have sensory disorders and other special needs will find this quick, painless procedure easy to endure
- A cavity that formed in a baby tooth
- A cavity that formed in a permanent back tooth
- A cavity that isn’t too deep
Speak with a Pediatric Dentist to See if Silver Diamine Fluoride is a Good Option for Your Child
Dr. Maggie Davis is a pediatric dentist who offers silver diamine fluoride as a treatment option for cavities. Not every child is going to be a good candidate for the use of silver diamine fluoride to treat a cavity. If your child is not a good candidate for this dental treatment, Dr. Davis can provide you with treatment recommendations that will improve your child’s oral health.
Call the office of Dr. Maggie Davis today to schedule an appointment for a pediatric dental checkup for your child or to ask any questions you may have about silver diamine fluoride.