Silver diamine fluoride to be offered in school!

May 8, 2023, Kyle Isaacs

Side view portrait of little girl looking at mirror in pediatric dentistry after dental surgery.Many of us know the discomfort of a toothache and what it is like to have a cavity and get a filling. This process is not much fun and can be extra difficult for our kids. Many children cannot sit still and be calm enough to get treatment in a traditional dental office. These kids may need to have their dental work done with general anesthesia. General anesthesia (GA) can be a good option, but it should not be taken lightly, as this procedure has pros and cons and can be expensive.

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a quick, easy, and less expensive option for treating cavities. Pediatric dentists have reported using general anesthesia 50-60% less often when kids in their office can be treated with SDF.

Photo Credit: Dr. Jeannette MacLean

SDF is a liquid medicine made of silver, fluoride, ammonia, water, and blue color. It is applied by drying the area on the tooth with gauze, a cotton roll, or air, then applying the SDF to the tooth surface with a small brush called a micro brush. It is allowed to sit for at least 10 seconds and as long as one minute. We then cover the area with fluoride varnish. Covering with varnish helps with the metallic taste and helps keep the SDF on the tooth and not diluted by saliva. Once applied, your child can eat and drink normally, as there are no restrictions. For best results, SDF should be used at least once a year, preferably twice a year if possible. We recommend that if we apply it to a tooth, the tooth should be checked by a dentist.

The Benton County Dental Services team has been using SDF for the past seven years to help prevent and stop tooth decay. We have used it for people aged two to 100+ in our adult clinic, the pediatric Johnson Dental Clinic, the River Center, the Lincoln Health Center, WIC, and the Veteran’s Home, and at outreach clinics throughout the year. We are excited to announce that we will offer SDF as part of our outreach services in local schools.

Asian child having dentist dental appointment.School kid getting teeth fixed in dental clinic.Screening and assessing kids in schools is a huge benefit in so many ways. It helps cut down on the number of times parents need to take time off from work and kids need to miss school to get to a dental office. We bring our supplies to the schools, set up in a classroom or big room like a library, depending on individual schools. Kids feel safe at school with their friends supporting them. Sealants are quick and easy and a fantastic way to get more comfortable with dental treatment, making it easier to have regular checkups as they get older. Adding the ability to apply SDF in schools is a huge step in helping kids to feel their best and to be better able to do schoolwork and play with friends rather than dealing with tooth pain.


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