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Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)

In recent years, a new material for managing dental cavities has come into play and it has proven to be hugely effective in controlling the rate of growth — Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF). It has been a game changer for our kiddos! This seemingly clear solution is powerful in its arrest of cavity growth.

What is SDF?

SDF is a safe, painless, less invasive alternative to traditional cavity drilling procedures. It is a liquid substance used to help prevent tooth cavities from developing, growing and spreading to other teeth.


What is SDF Made From?

SDF is applied topically (directly to the cavity surface of the tooth) and is made of the following:

SILVER: helps kill bacteria

WATER: provides a liquid base for the mixture

FLUORIDE: helps teeth rebuild the materials they are made of (remineralization)

AMMONIA: helps the solution remain concentrated so it is maximally effective against cavity resonance


SDF was first approved for use in Japan more than 80 years ago. SDF was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 for use in the United States.

Does SDF Have Any Side Effects?

There are very few negative side effects, especially for children. BLACK STAINING is most notable side effect which is cosmetic in nature.

Illustrated White Cats
Illustrated White Cats

How Do You Apply SDF?

  1. Gauze isolation to prevent saliva contact to tooth or teeth

  2. Moisture is removed with either gauze or air drying

  3. SDF is applied directly to the affected cavity area


We can attempt to camouflage the dark black stained area with the following (best results are NOT same day as SDF application):

  1. Glass ionomer filling — SMART treatment (silver modified atraumatic restorative technique)

  2. Opaquer

  3. All-white full coverage zirconia crown OR silver full coverage stainless steel crown (SSC)


You do not need to use filling material after this material is applied (SMART — silver modified atraumatic restorative technique). It can be followed by fluoride varnish to aid in slowing down cavity development. 

SDF is Proven to be More Effective than Fluoride Varnish Alone

Benefits include:

  1. Effective in stopping cavity development. 

  2. Kills the bacteria that break down tooth surfaces while keeping the cavity from spreading to neighboring teeth.

  3. Often a more comfortable alternative to drilling cavities.

  4. Helpful in situations of pre-cooperative age or dental anxieties.

  5. Allows for same day management of cavities in children unable to undergo traditional fillings.

Illustrated White Cats
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