What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Silver Diamine Fluoride is an antimicrobial liquid that is able to treat cavities in a non-invasive, fast, affordable, and painless manner.

How does Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) work?

Silver Diamine Fluoride is composed of two primary components: silver and fluoride. Silver acts as an anti-microbial agent that simultaneously strengthens the underlying protective layer of your child’s teeth called dentin. Fluoride is the active ingredient that puts a stop to tooth decay and helps prevent additional decay from appearing.

SDF helps harden the tooth structure softened by decay and keeps the affected teeth stable until a dentist determines if further action is necessary to preserve the health of the teeth.

What are the pros & cons for SDF?

Tooth decay in a young child. Bottom: the same tooth treated with SDF therapy, the decay process is stopped and a black stain remains.

Pros: One of the greatest benefits of silver diamine fluoride treatment is that it carries very little risk and is generally free of side effects. It is also quick, painless, non-invasive, affordable, and can stop tooth decay and help prevent recurrent decay.

Cons: The most prominent risk is an aesthetic one - permanent blackening of the treated teeth. When the silver in SDF is applied to a tooth, it oxidizes and leaves a black stain on the damaged cavity portion of the tooth, while leaving healthy enamel stain free. It can also temporarily stain any tissue surfaces it contacts (for example, lips or gums).The stains may persist for a few days up to a couple of weeks.

The blackening is permanent on the teeth. However, for children with baby teeth, the stains are temporary because the teeth will fall out on their own. Fillings can be done on the treated teeth once the decay has stopped to mask the staining, if the child accepts this.

Other things to consider:

  1. SDF can not restore tooth form or function, so large holes that trap food may still eventually require a filling or traditional restorations.
  2. SDF might require repeat application for maximum efficacy.
  3. SDF can not be used in the presence of infection or decay into the nerve.

Other than that, Silver Diamine Fluoride safety is a key part of the treatment’s appeal. The stained, treated teeth are no longer susceptible to the pain, discomfort, or sensitivity typically associated with well-established cavities.

When is Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) recommended as a cavity treatment?

There are several situations in which it may be recommended by your child’s dentist. Those include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Young children who have difficulty cooperating for treatment
    Children under 5 years of age with severe anxiety , who are not able to sit in the chair and hold still. SDF can keep baby teeth from decaying further until they fall out.
  2. Children with multiple cavities that may not all be treated in one visit
    When a child has a significant number of cavities, the filling process can be quite lengthy. Since SDF treatment can cover up to about 8 teeth at once, it’s an effective solution for children with several affected teeth
  3. Special needs patients
    Children of all ages with special needs may not have the ability to restrict their own movement enough to receive numbing, and may not be able to understand the process enough to remain calm. SDF can treat their cavities in just a few minutes, without causing unnecessary distress
  4. Older kids
    Baby teeth don’t fall out all at once, and kids up to age 12 or 13 may be dealing with tooth decay in baby teeth as their permanent teeth come in. SDF can keep decaying baby teeth from negatively impacting surrounding permanent teeth as they emerge and develop.

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) in London (Marylebone)

If you are looking for a SDF treatment in London, the team at Happy Kids Dental is here for you.

First step would be to come in for 20min Consultation with Paediatric dentist, to determine if your child is a good candidate for this treatment. These appointments are carried out at our lovely Marylebone clinic.

Consultation takes up to 20min and cost £125.

If your child will benefit from this treatment - we will proceed with treatment on the day.

The actual application of SDF is incredibly quick and painless.

  1. Cleaning the Area
    The Happy Kids Dental paediatric dentist brushes and rinses your child’s teeth to prepare for the treatment.Your child’s teeth will then be dried and any debris, such as plaque, will be removed. It helps to ensure the solution makes the best possible contact with the affected area.
  2. Isolating the Area
    Because the lips and skin are so susceptible to staining, dentists may apply a protective coating of Vaseline to these areas. Dentists will also isolate the treatment area using cotton rolls. The gums are usually protected with a lovely smelling cocoa butter.
  3. Applying the SDF
    A dentist simply dips the brush into the solution, removes any excess liquid and paints the SDF directly to the affected surface.The application itself doesn’t take long - usually only 2 to 3 minutes are needed.To allow the SDF to set, the dentist may apply gentle airflow until the solution is dry.

Silver Diamine Fluoride treatment cost at Happy Kids Dental is £150.


Patients should come for a follow up to Happy kids Dental after 4 weeks after the initial treatment to make sure the SDF is doing its job. If a single treatment doesn’t fully stop the cavity from growing, our paediatric dentist may recommend further applications.

Follow up appointment is £105. If SDF is re-applied at this visit the charge of £150 applies. (You will pay either £105 or £150).

SDF Questions & Answers

How do I know is Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is right for my child?

The only way to determine whether Silver Diamine Fluoride treatment is right for your child is to consult a paediatric dentist about it.

Ready to book your next appointment?