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Stopping Decay in its Tracks


Is it possible to fix a cavity without doing a filling? Yes!

A safe alternative to fillings

Our team at Chinook Smiles recognizes that, sometimes due to a variety of reasons, traditional cavity treatments such as fillings may not be feasible or possible. In these scenarios, SDF (silver diamine fluoride) may act as an alternative to fillings by controlling tooth decay and cavities.

This blue-tinted solution may seem like magic with its remarkable ability to retard the progression of tooth decay (and sometimes even arrest it completely), but the true science lies behind its star ingredients, silver and fluoride ions. In short, the silver ions kill cavity-causing harmful bacteria, while the fluoride ions work on the damaged tooth structure to remineralize and re-harden it. SDF has proven to be an extremely effective treatment in young children and patients with medical conditions contraindicating operative dental treatments.

The advantages of SDF treatment

  • Painless with no drilling required: Unlike traditional fillings, SDF treatment requires no drilling (thereby no freezing or local anaesthesia is necessary), thus greatly reducing the discomfort of the appointment.
  • Safe and Proven: SDF has been used safely for many years and has approval from Health Canada for treating tooth decay in both baby teeth and adult teeth.
  • Cost-Effective: SDF treatment is often more cost-effective than traditional restorative treatments.
  • Fast: application of SDF will only take a few minutes per tooth

The SDF application process

During your SDF treatment appointment, our dental team at Chinook Smiles will carefully apply the SDF solution to the affected tooth with proper isolation. The procedure is quick and painless, and there is no need for drilling or injections. The liquid solution is applied with precision, ensuring that it effectively reaches and treats the decayed area.

It is strongly recommended that this application is repeated in two weeks, as research as shown that this second application greatly compounds the decay-fighting effect of SDF. Ideally, in three months’ time, the treated area is re-evaluated to determine whether the cavity has been arrested fully, or whether more treatment is recommended.

Post-treatment care

After SDF treatment, it’s essential to avoid eating or drinking for at least one hour to allow the SDF solution to take effect fully. Our dental team will provide specific instructions on how to care for the treated tooth and maintain optimal oral hygiene.


  • SDF will stain the decayed tooth area a dark brown colour. Healthy tooth structure will not be affected.

  • SDF will stain clothing, so leave your favourite shirt at home for this one.
  • The taste is yucky! Our dental team always try their best to properly isolate the treated area so the solution does not touch the tongue, but if it does, consider yourself forewarned!


How can I prolong the effect of my SDF treatment?2023-10-22T01:31:29+00:00

Maintaining good oral hygiene with diligent home care will work along side the anti-cavity properties of SDF to protect your teeth and reduce cavity risks.

Is SDF a permanent solution for cavities?2023-10-22T01:26:59+00:00

SDF provides long-lasting cavity control, but its effectiveness may vary from person to person. Maintenance treatment is recommended, and regular dental check-ups are still essential.

Are there any side effects or risks associated with SDF treatment?2023-10-22T01:27:54+00:00

The primary side effect is that SDF turns the decay area on the treated tooth black or dark brown, which may be a cosmetic concern for some patients. A filling can always be placed on top of the treated area to mask the discolouration.

Can SDF fix all cavities?2023-10-22T01:24:05+00:00

Unfortunately not all tooth decay or cavity can be treated with SDF. Your Chinook Smiles dentist will perform the proper assessment and determine your suitability for this treatment.

Can anyone apply SDF, or should it be administered by a dentist?2023-10-22T01:21:20+00:00

SDF should be applied by a trained dental professional who can evaluate your specific dental needs and ensure its safe and effective use.


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