SDF (Silver Diamine Flouride)


Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a clear liquid composed of silver and fluoride that is applied to your child’s teeth in order to slow down or prevent dental decay. Silver provides antibacterial treatment, while fluoride helps to strengthen the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. While it does not restore the tooth to its previous form and function, SDF has many benefits, including: 

  • Pauses cavity development
  • Kills bacteria to prevent decay from spreading
  • Alternative treatment to drilling cavities
  • Painless and non-invasive

Did You Know?

Traditionally, fluoride varnish has been used to prevent tooth decay. Although fluoride varnish is effective, research has shown that SDF is more effective and requires less treatments. In fact, fluoride varnish is recommended to be applied four times a year, while SDF only needs to be applied once a year. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Does my child need SDF?

Your child may need SDF if they have a dental cavity in need of treatment. SDF allows them to receive treatment without the need for a dental drill or dental anesthesia, making it a gentle dental treatment. SDF is also a beneficial dental treatment for kids with special needs who may struggle to keep their teeth clean on their own. To find out if SDF is right for your child, schedule a consultation with your San Antonio Pediatric Dentist today.  

How is SDF applied at my San Antonio Pediatric Dental Office?

application of silver diamine fluoride

SDF is a topical treatment, meaning that it is applied to the outside of your child’s teeth. To apply SDF, cotton or gauze will be placed around the affected tooth and excess saliva will be suctioned away to keep the area dry. This prevents the SDF from flowing freely throughout the mouth and instead keeps it isolated to the affected area. Once the area is dry, the SDF will be brushed onto the decayed area. In some cases, SDF may also be applied to healthy tooth enamel for use as a preventative procedure. 

It is important to note that when SDF is applied to the teeth, it forms a compound called silver oxide that causes black staining on the tooth, gums, and lips. Your Stone Oak pediatric dentist will do their best to avoid any staining, but it is always a possibility. While this staining will fade on the gums and lips, it will remain black on the unrestored cavity. For this reason, SDF is generally recommended for use in the back teeth or for primary teeth. 

Is SDF safe?

SDF is considered to be a safe dental treatment for children. The two most common side effects are a metallic taste and temporary gum irritation if in contact with SDF. With that being said, SDF is not recommended for patients with a metal allergy or those who are showing signs of a pulp infection. 

What happens after my child receives SDF treatment?

After SDF treatment, your pediatric dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment to evaluate the treatment area to ensure the SDF is working. They will check for the black staining, as well as to make sure the decayed area has been hardened. In some cases, SDF may be reapplied to prevent decay progression. There are no special instructions that you or your child will need to follow after SDF application.