The most chronic childhood ailment today is tooth decay. For more than a century, dentists have primarily drilled and filled cavities. This sometimes painful practice often scares little ones. Today, a growing number of dentists have turned to silver diamine fluoride. This painless tooth decay treatment halts the worsening of cavities at a fraction of the cost.
Painless Tooth Decay Treatment New Weapon in Fight Against Cavities
Silver diamine fluoride may “make the pain, and expense, of traditional treatments obsolete,” declared PBS recently in a series about breakthroughs in science and technology.
What is silver diamine fluoride or SDF? This painless tooth decay treatment combines silver nitrate and fluoride varnish to stop the development of cavities. The silver nitrate has become a widely used liquid in antimicrobial medical treatments. Meanwhile, fluoride varnish gets widely used as a dental product. Mixed together they put an end to tooth decay before it reaches the center of a tooth and causes damage. This one-two punch includes the silver killing bacteria and preventing new bacteria from forming. And the fluoride creates a material that hardens the tooth and makes it stronger.
Breakthrough Growing in Popularity
A recent American Dental Association (ADA) Clinical Evaluators Panel of about 350 dentists found 16 percent used the treatment monthly, while 78 percent reported not having tried it yet. Shown to work safely in studies, the Federal Drug Administration approved SDF last year to reduce sensitivities in children’s teeth.
Silver diamine fluoride treatment for children and adults, in special cases, continues to gain more widespread acceptance. Medicaid plans in some states and private insurance companies now cover it. Compared to drilling, the SDF treatment typically costs as little as $30 per visit.
More and more colleges, too, such as the University of California, San Francisco, teach dentistry students about SDF. However, this promising new treatment still has a way to go before becoming universally taught and practiced in the United States.
Safety One Benefit to New Treatment
The standard drill-and-fill treatment means many dental patients, especially young children, must undergo sedation or have anesthesia applied. This helps to make the procedure less painful. Additionally, it allows dentists to treat children who experience high anxiety and resist dental work being performed. An estimated 100,000 to 250,000 children a year undergo sedation in dental offices in the United States.
Applying SDF has become one way to avoid sedation or putting children under. The painless tooth decay treatment can be done safely and quickly, lasting about 30 minutes.
Drawbacks do exist. The liquid, in rare instances, can leave black spots on teeth and has been found to be effective about 80 percent of the time. Enamel-colored material can cover any marks. Plus, with children any instance of black stains will disappear when baby teeth fall out.
Bring Your Children to Orange Beach Family Dentistry for Painless Tooth Decay Treatment!
At Orange Beach Family Dentistry, we offer silver diamine fluoride, a painless tooth decay treatment for your children. Call us for an appointment today for this breakthrough in dentistry or to schedule your regular dental visit!