Silver Diamine Fluoride is a less expensive and less invasive alternative for treating cavities in seniors.
This is the first FDA accepted product to stop cavities. It is a clear liquid composed of silver nitrate and fluoride varnish applied by a dentist or hygienist to teeth with cavities … or to all the teeth. It can stop cavities from getting bigger. It also helps prevent cavities in teeth without decay. This product has been used for over 50 years in Japan; it has only been available in this country since 2014. Although its use is growing quickly, it is still not used by all dentists. Be sure to ask!
Important things to know about Silver Diamine Fluoride:
1. The advantage for seniors in that it is quick and painless. There is no drilling or Novocain. There are no known medical limitations other than an allergy to silver nitrate which is very rare. It may be an alternative for more expensive fillings and crowns to treat cavities.
2. It stains cavities black; not the whole tooth, just the cavity. This may be a big problem for front teeth.
3. For best results, it should be applied every 3-4 months. One application helps but multiple applications work better.
4. Although it may stop the cavity from getting bigger, it does not repair the “hole” in the tooth caused by decay. Only a filling or crown can do that.
5. It is much less expensive than a filling or a crown but it is still not that inexpensive. Fees vary so check with your dentist. In our office, we charge $95 per application to all the teeth.