There has been a recent development of a product that can treat decay without drilling it away. The product is silver diamine fluoride, and a few drops can safely and effectively stop a cavity in its tracks. Silver compounds have been used for years in healthcare as antimicrobial agents, and have recently been discovered to be effective against cavities. It is so effective that pediatric dental training programs and dental schools across the country are now teaching it to their residents and students.
Approved by the FDA in 2014, and marketed by 2015 under the brand name Advantage Arrest, dentists are able to place a few drops on a small cavity which can then stop it from progressing. Advantage Arrest is composed of 24-27% silver, 8.5-10.5% ammonia, 5-6% fluoride, with the remainder of the solution being water. The silver kills the bacteria, while the rest of the mixture creates an unlivable environment for the remaining bacteria to stick to. The fluoride promotes the healing of the broken-down tooth structure.
The major disadvantage to this treatment is that it turns the cavity from a yellowish-brown color to black. It does not affect the healthy portion of the tooth, however, so small lesions on back teeth remain largely unnoticeable.
Discuss this treatment option with your dentist. Candidates for this treatment are very young children who cannot yet tolerate dental treatment, or children with cavities that could cause an abscess if left untreated. We advise that this treatment be used only as a temporary fix. These cavities should eventually be treated with more conventional means such as fillings or crowns. Although the treated cavity may have stopped growing, there is still a hole in the structure of the tooth that should eventually be filled in. Cavities found between teeth are not appropriate teeth for this treatment, however, as we cannot access them to apply the Advantage Arrest.
For more information, talk with Dr’s. Katie, Stephanie, and Taryn!