Cavity Prevention Strategies: All About Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Dental health is important to our overall well-being, and cavity prevention remains at the forefront of maintaining a healthy smile. Among the various treatments and preventive measures, silver diamine fluoride (SDF) offers the world of dentistry a long list of potential benefits. The team at My Kidz Dentist in Phoenix, Arizona, offers the following to help you understand its application and how it stands as a game-changer in cavity prevention.

What is silver diamine fluoride?

Silver diamine fluoride is a liquid substance containing silver and fluoride. Silver works as an antimicrobial agent, killing bacteria and preventing the formation of new colonies. Fluoride is the key ingredient in strengthening tooth enamel and halting decay. When combined, these ingredients offer a potent treatment against tooth decay.

The history and approval of SDF

Originally used in Japan for decades, SDF has gained popularity worldwide because of its effectiveness and ease of use. It received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 for use in tooth sensitivity and is now used off-label in the treatment of cavities in both children and adults.

How does SDF work?

When applied to a decayed tooth, silver diamine fluoride begins to work by killing pathogenic organisms. The silver component targets and destroys bacteria, while fluoride reinforces the tooth enamel, making it more decay-resistant. The application is painless and noninvasive, particularly beneficial for children or individuals with dental anxiety.

SDF benefits

There are numerous benefits of using SDF to prevent cavities, including:

Noninvasive treatment

Unlike traditional cavity treatments that may require drilling, SDF is applied topically. This feature makes it an ideal choice for patients nervous about dental procedures.



Studies have shown that SDF can halt the progression of cavities up to 72% more than a placebo treatment and can prevent new ones from forming.


Compared to other dental treatments, SDF is relatively inexpensive, making it accessible to a broader range of patients.

Quick application 

The process is quick and straightforward, requiring only a few minutes per tooth.

SDF application process

The application of SDF is simple. Our team will first remove any debris or plaque from the affected tooth. Next, a small amount of SDF is applied directly to the cavity or decayed area using a micro brush. The process is quick, painless, and doesn’t require local anesthesia.

Considerations and downsides

Although SDF is a remarkable tool in cavity prevention, there are some considerations. First, one of the main downsides of SDF is that it leaves a black stain on the decayed areas of the teeth. The stain indicates that SDF is working, but it can be aesthetically displeasing.

Silver diamine fluoride is not a complete solution. You may still require additional restorative dental work to restore the form or function of the teeth for teeth with extensive decay. 

Also, anyone with a known allergy to silver cannot use SDF.

Learn more about SDF and cavity prevention

Silver diamine fluoride represents a significant advancement in dental care, offering a simple, effective, and accessible cavity prevention and treatment method. Its ability to stop tooth decay painlessly and noninvasively makes it a valuable tool in any dentist's arsenal. Call the office, or schedule an appointment online to learn more about SDF and find out if it is the right choice for your child.

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