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What to Expect After your SDF Cavity Arrest Treatment

Congratulations on taking the first step towards healthier teeth with SDF treatment! We understand you may have questions, so here are answers to some common questions following this procedure:


What is SDF, and why did my dentist recommend it?

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a fantastic treatment that helps prevent tooth decay and stop existing cavities from getting worse. We recommended it to you because it’s a non-invasive, painless, and highly effective in arresting decay/cavities in your teeth.

What can I expect right after the SDF treatment?

Expect your teeth to have a slight metallic taste – don’t worry; it’s temporary and non toxic! Avoid eating or drinking for at least an hour after the treatment to let the SDF work its magic. In some cases, with teeth with extensive decay the treated area of the tooth may darken.

Why did my tooth turn gray/black after SDF treatment?

If your tooth turns black after Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) treatment, don’t panic; it’s a common side effect. This black discoloration occurs due to the silver component in the SDF solution. Here’s why:

  • Silver Component: SDF contains silver ions, which react with the decaying part of the tooth and create a black, silver-sulfide layer. This layer is harmless and acts as a barrier, preventing further decay.
  • Staining: The SDF treatment can sometimes cause temporary staining of the affected tooth. This staining may look black or dark gray. It is generally more noticeable on cavities and teeth with significant decay.
  • Cosmetic Concerns: While the black staining can be a cosmetic concern for some, it’s important to remember that SDF is primarily used for its anti-cavity and tooth-preserving properties, especially in cases where other treatments might be difficult or invasive.
  • Temporary: The black discoloration is generally temporary. It can gradually fade over time, especially with regular oral hygiene practices and dental check-ups. Your dentist can also assess the staining during follow-up appointments.
  • Alternative Options: If the black staining is a significant concern for you, please reach out to us so we can go over some restorative options to mask the stain.

In summary, the black discoloration of a tooth after SDF treatment is a common and usually temporary side effect. It’s a trade-off for the benefits of preventing further decay and preserving the tooth. If you have concerns about the appearance of the treated tooth, consult with your dentist to explore potential solutions.

Why do I need to repeat the SDF procedure on the same tooth?

We generally need to repeat this procedure every 3-6 months for at least 1 year. The need for repeating Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) treatment on the same area of a tooth depends on several factors, including the extent of the initial tooth decay, how well the tooth responds to the treatment, and your overall oral health. Here are some guidelines:

  • Dental Evaluation: We will assess the effectiveness of the initial SDF treatment during follow-up appointments. We will examine the treated tooth and check for signs of decay progression. Based on our evaluation, we will determine whether reapplication of SDF is appropriate or if we need to do more invasive care such as a filling or crown.
  • Severity of Decay: If the initial tooth decay was extensive or deep, it may require multiple SDF applications to completely arrest the decay. Less severe decay may be controlled with one treatment.
  • Patient Compliance: Your commitment to maintaining good oral hygiene practices and regular dental check-ups is crucial. Proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits can help prolong the effectiveness of SDF treatment.
  • Individual Response: Some individuals may respond differently to SDF treatment. While it is generally effective in preventing further decay, individual factors can influence the outcome. Your dentist will consider how your specific tooth has responded to the treatment.
  • Preventive Measures: In addition to SDF, your dentist may recommend preventive measures such as dental sealants or fluoride treatments to further protect the treated tooth and adjacent teeth from decay.
  • Long-Term Management: Managing the treated tooth’s long-term health may involve ongoing monitoring and maintenance. Your dentist will provide guidance on the frequency of follow-up appointments and any additional treatments needed.

Can I brush my teeth after the SDF application?

Hold off on brushing for at least 4-6 hours after the treatment to let the SDF bond to your teeth. However, gentle rinsing with water is perfectly fine.

Are there any food or drink restrictions after SDF treatment?

Nope, you can enjoy your favorite foods and drinks!

Can I eat hot or cold foods after SDF treatment?

Absolutely! SDF won’t make your teeth sensitive to temperature changes, so you can indulge in hot soup or ice cream without worries.

How do I care for my teeth in the days following SDF treatment?

Keep up your regular oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss as usual, but be gentle around the treated areas for the first few days.

Can I use fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash after SDF treatment?

You sure can! Fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash can help maintain the SDF’s protective effects. It’s like giving your teeth a double dose of defense!

Will I need a follow-up appointment after SDF treatment?

Most likely, yes. Your dentist will want to check on your progress and might reapply SDF if necessary. Keep those follow-up appointments!

Will my teeth turn black after SDF treatment?

There might be some darkening of the treated areas, but it’s not always permanent. Remember the alternative was to drill out the infected area of the tooth and place a filling there. This is still an option for you if you would like to get rid of the dark area…just remember the fact that your tooth darked is further evidence that the SDF treatment is working 🙂

How long does the SDF treatment last?

SDF can provide long-lasting protection, but it’s essential to maintain regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene for the best results. We will monitor your SDF treated tooth at every follow up appointment.

If you have any concerns or questions about your dental care, don’t hesitate to reach out to us 833-925-8326.