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  • Writer's pictureDr. Michael Klausner

Fixing a cavity without the drill?

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

Valley Arts Dental

Family, Restorative, & Cosmetic Dentists in West Orange NJ

Our office has begun using a great product known as Silver Diamine Fluoride.

This post is designed to explain its background, uses, and potential benefits to our patients.

Silver Diamine Fluoride Q & A

What is silver diamine fluoride?

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an FDA approved topical solution used to resolve sensitivity and also arrest active spots of dental decay and keep them from spreading. Commonly referred to as 38% SDF, this colorless liquid contains silver particles, fluoride, and other ingredients that help stop cavity progression as soon as it’s applied.

How does silver Diamine Fluoride work?

The silver component is an anti-microbial agent that kills bacteria and prevents the formation of new biofilm, and the fluoride prevents further demineralization (softening) of the tooth structure. This formulation is applied with a small brush and then rubber in. If it is applied so tooth decay, the decay immediately hardens and turns black.

What is the procedure like?

After the treatment area is isolated and dried, we will apply the Silver Diamine Fluoride to the decay using a small brush. After a few seconds, a fluoride-infused sealer is placed over the Silver Diamine Fluoride.

Depending on the nature of the application, occasionally, a follow-up appointment about a week later makes sure the Silver Diamine Fluoride is working, and a second application may be applied.

After the procedure, daily home treatment with a fluoride rinse (like ACT) is recommended, as is twice daily brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste.

Is this a new product and is it safe?

SDF has been used safely and effectively in most of Europe as well as other parts of the world for decades. Decades of high level studies prove its effectiveness and safety. Only recently however in the United States was it approved by the FDA for use.

What are situations where SDF may be used?

-Tooth sensitivity that does not resolve with traditional methods such as sensitivity toothpaste

-Decay in baby teeth where the baby teeth are expected to be lost shortly after

-Medically compromised patients who are not able to receive more invasive permanent treatments

-Decay in areas where a traditional rest


What are the disadvantages of SDF?

-Decay will turn black, so depending on the nature of the decay and location in the mouth this can be unsightly

-The SDF often has to be reapplied every 6-18 months depending on the nature of application

-SDF does not rebuild tooth structure, potentially leaving possible unhygienic areas where food may get trapped.

Michael J. Klausner, DDS

The applications of Silver Diamine Fluoride continue to expand as its popularity continues to grow. In many cases it can offer an easy and painless sensitivity or cavity treatment regimen for many of our patients. If you have additional questions feel free to e-mail our office at, or ask us any questions at your next visit!

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