Caries arrest is a process in which an active tooth decay is stopped from spreading further by use of a new medivine silver diamine fluoride. It is a non invasive process that is simple and quick to use.
It is a decayed area in which the caries have stopped progressing and is inactive. This decay is mostly present on the areas where plaque buildup is absent.
It is a very useful treatment that is done immediately done for the children who can’t receive a normal restoration for their dental decay. It is very effective for caries arrest on the decayed part and it prevents any new lesion on the applied tooth. It is a very minimal intervention treatment. It is very safe and affordable too.
The application of SDF is a rather easy process. In this process a brush is dip into the solution and then dabbed on the side of plastic dappen dish which helps to remove excessive liquid before it is applied. The solution is to be directly applied on the affected tooth surface. After it is applied if any excess is left it is removed by gauze or a cotton roll. The application time is 45 seconds to 1minute.
Usually SDF can be used on patients of any age starting from a child to an adult. But it has the most clinical utility in children when they are not co-operating for restorative treatment. It may also be helpful for patients with any age group having situational anxiety towards the treatment. It is also very helpful for the patients having any intellectual or any developmental disabilities. Since SDF is not a replacement for the restorative treatment of decayed tooth, It is an effective therapy used as a part of treatment plan for all age groups made by a dentist.
The suggested frequency for children is once to twice in a year. First it is applied for three consecutive weeks, after that once in six months for its re-application. If the re-application is not done either once a year or two, the SDF might lose its effect over the time.
There isn’t any serious side effect from this treatment. But SDF applied to decayed part or on other parts like mouth, lips etc can cause significant irreversible black staining due to the formation of silver oxide. Staining of the skin or the oral mucosa, tongue tends to resolve within a few days. But in the decayed part of the tooth the SDF remains black permanently. So aesthetically the problem is especially with the anterior teeth. Even the mechanical removal of the arrested caries and placing of the restoration might not always remove or mask the black stained tooth. So the only thing that can be done is that SDF is most appropriately applied very carefully in the carious lesion by only a trained dentist in a controlled environment.