Join Dr. John Yamamoto, Vice President of Professional Services, to learn about an emerging dental technique and how it could benefit certain populations.

A medication called silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is allowing dentists a unique opportunity to offer an affordable, painless and significantly less risky solution to one of this country’s most prominent oral health issues — cavities.

Approved by the FDA to treat tooth sensitivity, dentists are using SDF as an off-label solution to slow or stop decay caused by bacteria — particularly in pediatric cases.

SDF is applied topically to the teeth, and treatment includes two major components: the silver kills bacteria and the fluoride strengthens the remaining healthy parts of the tooth. The solution isn’t guaranteed to work on every cavity, but it is largely effective.

Topical application is a key element of SDF. Without drilling, SDF is a painless alternative to older techniques. It’s also significantly less expensive than a traditional filling.

The drawback? The silver renders the treated areas black, so the treatment isn’t an ideal solution for adult front teeth. Despite the aesthetic disadvantage, SDF is transforming the way dentists treat certain populations.

Since dentists can administer SDF painlessly, the treatment eliminates the need for sedation in some pediatric cases. Pediatric sedation poses many risks, so avoiding anesthesia to treat decay in children is a significant advantage. (Especially since baby teeth fall out, leaving the only disadvantage negligible.)

Not only does SDF eliminate pediatric sedation in many cases, but the advantages of SDF also reach the elderly and other vulnerable populations. For example, those who can’t afford extensive dental treatment can eliminate the pain of a cavity without the financial burden of a filling.

If your clients’ enrollees are curious about SDF, encourage them to ask their dentist for more information on how itworks and what a treatment plan may entail, as follow-up visits are often encouraged.

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