Silver Diamine Fluoride
It might surprise many people to learn that tooth decay is one of the most chronic health problems in this country.
Most American kids have their first cavity by the age of eight. Cavities that are left untreated—even in baby teeth—can spread to permanent teeth that haven’ even erupted yet.
Recently, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry released findings from studies conducted over the past 40-plus years that point to the benefits of silver diamine fluoride to treat cavities—with no drilling and no pain.
Since 2014, this treatment has been used to treat tooth sensitivity in adults, and some dentists were also using it to treat cavities at that time—although that wasn’t its original purpose. With these new study results, its use for tooth decay is becoming more widespread. Some are calling it a breakthrough in pediatric dentistry.
Silver, the most active ingredient in silver diamine fluoride, has now been shown to effectively destroy the bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
The Traditional Method for Treating Tooth Decay
The way cavities are treated hasn’t changed much in past decades. When decay develops in baby teeth, the options are usually (1) fill the tooth, (2) crown the tooth, or (3) extract the tooth. None of these are very appealing in young children who might already be anxious about sitting in the dental chair. In children with special needs, these treatments can be quite traumatic, and sedation might even be recommended to complete treatment in some cases.
But Dr. Christina Ramirez wants to make sure parents have options when it comes to treating their children. Parents appreciate having an alternate option that is less invasive, completely safe, and more economical.
Using Silver Diamine Fluoride to Treat Tooth Decay
Silver diamine fluoride provides pediatric dentists with an easy, noninvasive way to treat cavities. Because it is applied gently with a brush, it can reduce the need for anesthesia in many cases. It is particularly useful on baby teeth that might be near falling out because it eliminates the need for fillings.
The primary side effect of silver diamine fluoride is that it turns the tooth decay almost black after it is applied. The color is what tells your dentist that the medication is working. Although some dentists believed the dark color would be a deterrent for parents, the fact that the procedure is so noninvasive far outweighs the disadvantages of discoloration. Some parents report that it has sparked conversations about the treatment among friends and family members.
Parents overall seem to prefer a less invasive treatment—even with the discoloration side effect.
Using More Esthetic Treatment Later On
When children are very young, they are generally unaware of the dark discoloration that results from the application of silver diamine. All they know is that they were in
and out of the dentist chair quickly. As they enter their school-age years, however, they might begin to feel self-conscious about the dark spots in their teeth—particularly in their front teeth. At this point, they might be ready to have a white filling put in the tooth, which provides a more cosmetic option.
Contact Us to Discuss Options for Cavities
If you are unsure about which treatment method might be best for your child, call Tiny Texans Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Christina will be happy to discuss options with you so you make an informed decision. Contact our office today!