Is Silver Diamine Fluoride Treatment an Effective Treatment for Cavities in Kids? Our Own Dr. Clemens Investigates SDF

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Untreated tooth decay and inadequate access to dental care are serious public health problems for low-income children in the United States. Recently, Dr. Jennifer Clemens, DMD conducted a study with Jaana Gold, DDS, and Jeffrey Chaffin, DDS, to assess the efficacy of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) as a potential nonsurgical treatment for dental caries in children.

Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2014, SDF has been studied for effectiveness across a variety of age groups, populations and types of dentition. That said, there hadn’t been any published research on the clinical effectiveness of SDF in American preschool-aged children. Through this study, Dr. Clemens and her colleagues sought to assess the effectiveness of 38 percent SDF in arresting active dental caries lesions and in preventing or reducing related dental infections and pain in young, at-risk children. 

Appearing in The Journal of Public Health Dentistry, the research involved 32 children between the ages of 2 and 5 with a total of 118 active caries lesions in their primary teeth. After giving each child a baseline examination, every carious lesion (microcavity) was treated with one to two applications of 38 percent SDF. Each child was then re-evaluated at 3-week and 3-month recalls to examine consistency and color changes in the lesions.

Ultimately, Dr. Clemens and her colleagues found that 100 of the caries lesions were found to be arrested at the very first recall and all were arrested by the second recall.

These results indicate that SDF is an effective solution for active caries lesions in primary teeth in young kids. It’s also readily accepted by parents and a convenient nonsurgical alternative to traditional restorative dental treatments in young kids. Due to its affordability, SDF looks to have great potential in aiding the dental public health community, especially in at-risk populations.

Dr. Jennifer Clemens and her colleagues are proud to have contributed to the growing body of evidence that SDF is a safe, affordable way to stop or delay the development of cavities in young children and high-risk kids, who may not be able to access or afford traditional restorative dental treatments.

 

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