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Say Goodbye to the Dentist’s Drill

July 14, 2016
Plain English Version

dental care

It is here!  There is a new way to treat cavities. It is a liquid brushed on the cavity. It is silver diamine fluoride or S.D.F.

They have been using it for years in Japan. It is now available in the U.S. Its brand name is Advantage Arrest.

The government says it is only for use as a tooth desensitizer on adults. But studies show it can halt the progression of cavities and prevent them. Dentists are using it for those purposes.

One dentist said the great news is that you do not need to drill. You do not need an injection to dull the pain of a drilling.

Oregon is the first state to use it for Medicaid patients. Dental schools are teaching pediatric dentists how to use it.

Another dentist said, “Being able to paint it on in thirty seconds with no noise, no drilling, is better, faster, cheaper.”

There is a downside. S.D.F. blackens the brownish decay on a tooth. That may not matter on a back molar or a baby tooth that will fall out. Some patients will not want it on a tooth that is visible.

The good news is that it does not cost too much. The treatment is about $25.

Dental care for children is full of dilemmas. About one out of four 2-to-5-year-olds has cavities. Severe cavities may call for operations. Using S.D.F. may be the way to prevent the need for an operation.

S.D.F. also kills the bacteria that cause decay. Two S.D.F. treatments will reduce cavities.

Dentists are for the new treatment.  One said, “You need only a drop (of S.D.F.) to treat five teeth. It comes out to pennies per tooth.”

Source: The New York Times July 11, 2016

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