Kids are often afraid to go to the dentist, and even scarier is when a child is told that they have a cavity and the dentist is going to need to drill into their tooth. While many adults know that the procedure is relatively painless, that doesn’t much ease the mind of the child who is being told for the first time that they need it done. Luckily, there is a new option for treating cavities that doesn’t involve drilling or filling.
Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is an antimicrobial liquid that, when applied to a tooth with a cavity, can prevent the progression of the cavity and prevent new ones from forming.
SDF has been used for decades in Japan, but has only been approved for use in the United States for about a year. The FDA cleared SDF for use as a tooth desensitizer, but studies have shown that it also works to halt, and prevent future development of, cavities. The use of SDF has made its way into the classroom, and its off-label use as a replacement for filling and drilling is now being taught in pediatric dental schools across the country.
The only downside is aesthetic. SDF often blackens the decayed area of the tooth. In many cases, where the cavity is in the back of the mouth or on the backside of a tooth, this discoloration will not matter, but if the cavity is visible when smiling, the patient may opt for a traditional filling.
This method can be used in adults and children alike, but is recommended for use in children to help alleviate their fears of going to the dentist. This can also be a valuable tool in preventing the progression or development of cavitiesfor intellectually and developmentally disabled patients.
Our pediatric dentist, Nicholas Katchen, DDS, is now offering SDF treatments in office. Dr. Katchen is dual certified in pediatric dentistry and dental anesthesia for patients of all ages. Dr. Katchen also has training in treating patients with special needs. Schedule a checkup with Dr. Katchen and ask him about SDF treatments for cavities. Schedule an appointment with us online or call (845) 610-6730.