Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF for short) is an FDA approved topical antimicrobial medication that effectively treats tooth hypersensitivity and stops the progression of cavities.  Application is non-invasive - no numbing or drilling required, and it is painless to apply! While SDF isn’t a permanent fix for a cavity, silver diamine fluoride buys time until more traditional dental restorations such as fillings or crowns can be placed.



    The 2 active ingredients in SDF are silver and fluoride, which work better in combination than individually.  Silver acts as an antimicrobial agent to continually kill the bacteria that causes cavities. Fluoride helps to partially repair the tooth and prevents the cavity from growing.  Treatment with Silver Diamine Fluoride doesn’t completely eliminate the need for restorative dentistry procedures like fillings or crowns to repair function and esthetics, but it does stop the progression of a cavity 80% of the time when applied regularly.



SDF can be a beneficial option for many patients.  In children too young to cooperate for placement of traditional fillings, application of Silver Diamine Fluoride can halt the progression of the cavity until they are mature enough to have the tooth repaired.  SDF can also be a great treatment alternative for special needs patients who may also have difficulty tolerating traditional filling or crown methods. Aging patients with health concerns that may need to delay major dental work can also be treated with SDF.



The tooth is cleaned, dried, and the Silver Diamine Fluoride liquid is applied with a small brush for 1 minute.  Fluoride varnish is then applied on top of the area to help seal it. Best of all, there are no injections and no numbness after!  There are no eating or drinking restrictions to follow after placement. A 2nd SDF treatment is applied 2 weeks after the initial treatment.  The area is then treated every 6 months, or until a more permanent restoration such as a filling or crown can be completed. The entire procedure can be completed in minutes!




-Painless without the need for numbing

-SDF application is quick and easy

-Stops the progression of a cavity 80% of the time with regular applications

-Decreases tooth sensitivity

-Can be more cost effective than some types of dental treatment



    The most common adverse effects are:

  • Any areas of cavity will turn black, but healthy tooth structure will not stain.  The staining of the cavity will remain until a more permanent dental restoration such as a filling or crown is placed.
  • SDF may also discolor existing fillings or crowns
  • While we make every effort to prevent the silver diamine fluoride liquid from coming in contact with gums, lips, or skin, this sometimes happens. When it happens, SDF can leave a white or brownish stain, similar to a henna tattoo. These stains typically disappear in 1-3 weeks as the skin cells replenish, but it cannot be washed off.
  • You may notice a metallic taste during application or shortly thereafter, but this subsides fairly quickly.


Application of Silver Diamine Fluoride is contraindicated in individuals with a silver allergy or if you have mouth sores, ulcers, or overly inflamed tissues.  


Contact Lakeland Family Dental today if you have any questions about silver diamine fluoride or if you’re ready to schedule your first appointment!