questions about silver diamine fluoride treatment
January 30, 2017 8:31 AM   Subscribe

I've been hearing about silver diamine fluoride treatment for stopping tooth decay (apparently relatively new in the US). Can anyone who has had this treatment tell me the pluses and minuses from their experience? I'd also be interested in any information on availability/providers (I'm in the US Pacific Northwest).
posted by madmethods to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am definitely not a dentist, but I've been aware of this treatment. The plusses are that it works, and it's relatively cheap. One minus is that it will turn your teeth black.

It's been known to be an effective treatment especially for populations who may not have ongoing care available to them. It's pretty controversial in the dental community.

For search terms, to seek more information, you can also search 'silver nitrate'.
posted by hydra77 at 9:18 AM on January 30, 2017

My 2-year old son just had this treatment done within the past couple weeks, as he's too young (and thus, fidgety) for regular cavity treatment. We have multiple appointments lined up for him for the dentist to apply more silver diamine fluoride. The actual procedure involved us having him lie down with his head in the pediatric dentist's lap and after squirting some air to dry the area, she just applied the fluoride onto his teeth with a small brush. No numbing or anesthesia or etc done at all, all painless, whole procedure took less than 5 minutes. Yes, there is black staining on where the material was applied, but as he will eventually lose those teeth, the discoloration will only be an issue until he loses those teeth.

As an adult, I would not want this staining done on my front teeth as it would be visible to people looking at you. I'd be alright with it in the back.

I'm in the SF Bay Area.
posted by Seboshin at 11:52 AM on January 30, 2017

I have a kid who had some tooth decay and our dentist mentioned it as one of the only two proven ways to arrest decay (the other being plain ol' fluoride). It is extremely cheap, painless, and turns teeth black. We're on the east coast, and it's not available here. We went with topical fluoride and working with my daughter on her in-office behavior until she was ready to sit still for standard fillings. Had it been available in my area, we would have used it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:35 PM on January 30, 2017

I've had this done on one of my (adult) molars and I'd definitely agree with others that you should avoid this on visible front teeth, as it does stain quite noticeably. In all other respects it's great; no pain during application, and not noticeable afterwards (aside from the staining).
posted by Aleyn at 6:33 PM on January 30, 2017

I can memail you the name of a dentist that is covered by an OHP provider and offers SDF in North Portland if you want it.
posted by aniola at 6:57 PM on January 30, 2017

Here's a pretty thorough overview.

I went to the dentist the other week and tensed up when it came time for the dentist to work on my mouth (even though I knew he was just going to be doing SDF and not drilling away more perfectly good tooth to clean out a cavity before filling). And then I realized that my dentist was just brushing some SDF on my teeth and I could relax.
posted by aniola at 4:26 PM on February 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

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