Last year the New York Times published an article about a powerful type of fluoride that has been around for many years and seems to be making a comeback. Silver Diamine fluoride is a liquid that has been around for many decades but for some reason never found its way into mainstream dentistry in the United States. I don’t recall it ever being mentioned while I was in dental school. It is a clear liquid that is about 25% silver, which has very strong anti-microbial properties. It also has about 5% fluoride, which is similar to the fluoride treatments that are provided to patients today in dental offices.
What is unique about silver diamine fluoride, and what seems to be garnering all the attention these days, is its unique ability to not only prevent decay but also to arrest decay. Without getting too technical, this uniqueness is due to the presence of the silver, which has strong antimicrobial properties and also holds and preserves tooth structure that normally breaks down when cavities develop.
Silver diamine fluoride is not without its drawbacks. This most noted is that when it is applied to an area of decay, the area is stained a dark black color. For obvious reasons, this type of treatment should be avoided in the smile zone where a permanent black spot could lead to embarrassment.
But for people who can’t seem to gain control over cavities and are looking for a solution have the upper hand, talk to your dentist about this treatment option to determine whether it is right for you.