What Is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Aug 29, 2022

You’ve probably heard about fluoride before. It’s that mineral that helps keep enamel strong and well mineralized. But what about when your child already has a cavity and it’s too late for fluoride to strengthen the enamel in that area because it’s already long gone? That’s where silver diamine fluoride comes in.

What It Is

Silver diamine fluoride is a solution that includes fluoride, water, ammonia, and silver. It’s formulated to kill cavity-causing bacteria, desensitize the teeth, and prevent the cavity from growing further by strengthening and protecting the dentin in the teeth. Despite what the name might suggest, silver diamine fluoride is a colorless liquid.

Who It’s For

Because silver diamine fluoride treatments are non-invasive and aren’t painful, this treatment is ideal for infants, toddlers, and anxious children who may not tolerate other cavity treatments well. It’s also a good treatment option for special needs patients and the elderly. It’s simple, fast, and cost-effective. It’s considered a safe treatment option, though it is temporary. Other restorative treatments will likely be necessary down the line, but it’s effective at halting tooth decay until that can be done.


There are a few drawbacks to using silver diamine fluoride. It can have a funny taste which is often described as metallic and smells of ammonia. The taste and smell don’t last though, usually fading after treatment is complete. It’s not a good option for children with silver allergies or anyone with mouth ulcers. It’s also important to note that silver diamine fluoride has a staining effect on the teeth, specifically the decayed areas that have been treated with it. These areas will be permanently stained gray or black thanks to a reaction between the silver in the solution and the decay. The good news is that this staining is evidence that the solution is effectively killing the bacteria causing the decay. Additionally, the healthy portions of the tooth will remain their normal color. Only the decayed parts of the tooth will be stained.

You do your best to help your child keep their teeth healthy. Sometimes even the best efforts fall short of keeping a child’s teeth cavity-free. Fortunately, your child’s dentist is your ally here. They can help you protect the health of your child’s teeth and step in to treat them when needed. Just make sure you get your child to their regular dentist appointments so they can be the ally you need them to be.

Preventing dental decay starts with healthy oral care habits. Click here for some tips from Stellar Kids Dentistry that can help keep your kid’s smile healthier.