You don’t just have to cross your fingers and say a little prayer that your kids don’t get any cavities. At Murray Hill Pediatric Dentistry, we offer a few ways to protect your child’s teeth from decay, aside from the usual brushing and flossing (still very important!). Fluoride varnish, dental sealants, and even silver diamine fluoride can all play a role in keeping the dentist’s drill at bay.
We brush a sticky varnish onto your child’s teeth at the end of their cleaning/exam visit, and it helps keep their teeth healthy, strong, and cavity-free for months to come. Typically, receiving a fluoride treatment at each dental visit is plenty, but we occasionally recommend it more often for kiddos who are particularly prone to cavities.
Fluoride varnish adheres immediately to teeth, which minimizes accidental ingestion; and your child can eat or drink right away afterwards. The only restriction is to avoid hard or sticky foods for 4–6 hours. The dentist may also discuss supplemental fluoride such as fluoride toothpastes and mouth-rinses.
As part of our serious commitment to helping all patients grow up cavity-free, we strongly recommend dental sealants as early as possible. They are one of the easiest and most effective methods available today to prevent tooth decay, they cost significantly less than fillings, and they last for years.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
Sometimes cavities still happen! Silver diamine fluoride is a temporary treatment meant to arrest, or inactivate, an existing cavity and reduce tooth sensitivity. This particular topical sealant is key for children who are temporarily unable to sit for treatment due to their young age or special needs. It is by no means a cure, but it can buy us six months to a year until the child is ready to undergo the necessary treatment in-office, be it a filling, root canal, crown, or extraction.
In older children, silver diamine fluoride can be useful to reduce sensitivity by strengthening their teeth’s dentin layer.