What is SDF Treatment?

SDF is an antimicrobial liquid that can help stop tooth decay and help with sensitivity. The treatment is fast and the teeth do not need to get numb. SDF can help buy time for very young, fearful or special needs patients that may otherwise need sedation or general anesthesia for traditional dental treatment.

Facts to Consider

  • Silver Diamine Fluoride is applied every 3 to 12 months, or as determined by the doctor.
  • After SDF is placed, your child should not eat or drink for 60 minutes or have their teeth brushed until the next morning.
  • Treatment with SDF does not stop the need for dental fillings or crowns to fix function or aesthetics.


  • The affected area will stain black permanently (see photos at right). This means SDF is working! Healthy tooth structure will not stain.
  • Tooth-colored fillings and crowns may discolor if SDF is applied to them. This can normally be polished off. The edge between a tooth and filling may be stained
  • If accidentally applied to the skin or gums, a brown or whitespot may appear that causes no harm, cannot be washed off and will disappear in one to three weeks. 
  • Your child may notice a metallic taste that will go away quickly.
  • SDF will permanently stain clothes.
  • SDF may not stop the decay and not every cavity can be treated with SDF.
  • Your child should not be treated with SDF if: 1.) They are allergic to silver. 2.) There are painful sores or raw areas (like ulcers) anywhere in the mouth.

Alternatives to SDF (not limited to anesthesia.the following)

  • No treatment – may lead to continued deterioration of tooth structure as well as increased sensitivity and/or pain. There is also risk of dental infection or abscess when decay is left untreated.
  • Depending on the location and extent of tooth decay, other treatment may include placement of fluoride varnish, a filling or crown, extraction, oral sedation or general.

Before and After SDF Treatment