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What if I Have a Cavity?

Up to 90% of all adults will have at least one cavity in their lifetime. But at Dental West in NYC, we work very hard to help our patients prevent them. We offer SDF treatment to arrest decay, and both amalgam and composite fillings should you need a restoration.

SDF: How We Can Stop Cavities Once They’ve Started

You may have had a dentist say to you, “we’re going to watch this one,” when you have a small cavity that doesn’t necessitate a filling just yet. Historically, dentists have “kept an eye” on these early-stage lesions to monitor them until a filling is called for. But why wait and watch a cavity get bigger? At Dental West, we actively work to reverse this decay rather than waiting to see it get bigger at every appointment.

SDF, or Silver Diamine Fluoride, is an early-intervention treatment that has recently become available to dentists in the US. With decades of successful use in other countries, it has been proven to help patients delay or even avoid fillings altogether.

Treating Cavities content

How Does SDF work?

SDF stops cavities in its tracks. The silver in SDF kills the cavity-causing bacteria, and fluoride remineralizes the tooth’s enamel to protect it.

The amount of fluoride applied for an SDF treatment is less than what is applied with fluoride varnish, but the results are much more powerful. Studies have shown that one application of SDF is equivalent to four applications of varnish! That doesn’t mean you should stop the varnish–it’s still good for prevention–but SDF goes one step further. When you have that little cavity, SDF’s job is to reverse the decay process.

Benefits of SDF include:

  • Quick topical application
  • Minimally invasive
  • No pain
  • No drilling

How Often Do You Apply SDF?

You’ll receive two or three applications of SDF within the first year, and then you’ll come back for yearly treatments. No drilling and no discomfort.


When a cavity is beyond the point that it can be arrested, you may require a filling. Our team at Dental West offers both composite and amalgam fillings in Upper West Side NYC.

Why Are Fillings Necessary?

While a filling may not feel minimally invasive, it certainly is when we consider what a timely filling can prevent. Stopping decay and restoring a tooth’s structure with a filling usually prevents decay from reaching the tooth’s pulp, which could call for a root canal in the future. Tooth loss, implants, and crowns are also among the complications you can avoid or significantly postpone by receiving a filling as soon as decay is detected.

Composite Fillings

A composite filling is tooth-colored. We match the color to your teeth so that the filling is invisible.. Benefits of composite fillings include:

  • Tooth-colored, esthetically superior
  • Contain no metal (better for anyone sensitive or allergic to metals)

Amalgam Fillings

An amalgam filling, or silver filling, is made of a mix of metals. Amalgam is not tooth-colored, but silver in appearance. Despite not blending in the way composite does, amalgam still offers numerous advantages:

  • More durable, lasts longer
  • Stronger
  • Less technique sensitive (for patients who have a lot of saliva)
  • Tried and true

Let Us Help You!

If you have a cavity in Upper West Side NYC, the doctors at Dental West look forward to helping you choose the right treatment for you, whether SDF, composite filling, or amalgam filling. Reach out to make an appointment today!

Leora Walter


Leora Walter

March 8, 2024

Dr. Leora Walter is a surgically trained prosthodontist and an elite dentists, with an expertise in cosmetic procedures at Dental West NYC on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.



(212) 580-4520
115 Central Park West
Suite 4
New York, NY 10023
Hours: Monday – Friday / 9am – 5pm
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