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Best Life: Testing a way to fill children’s cavities in a gentler, pain-free way

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 7:51 AM CST
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Detroit, Mich. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Getting a cavity filled is no fun. There can be pain, shots, numbing and the harrowing sound of the drill. But a kinder, gentler way to care for kids with cavities is being tested and the only tool required is a small paintbrush.

Five-year-old Skye is pretty happy for a kid who just had a cavity treated 30 minutes earlier. She’s part of a study testing silver diamine fluoride or SDF -- a treatment to stop cavities in children.

“So, this is a liquid that contains fluoride, silver and a high PH liquid and it’s going to stop the cavities from progressing in the teeth,” explains Margherita Fontana, DDS.

Instead of the dreaded drill, the tooth is brushed and dried. Then the liquid SDF is painted on for ten seconds. There are minimal if any side effects.

“She was able to drink and eat something within minutes of walking out of the appointment and playing,” said Bethany Mattson, Skye’s mother.

“It makes my teeth feel sparkly,” said Skye.

About one-quarter of kids aged two to five have cavities. Half of children aged six and eight do and it’s often higher in minority and lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

“It’s a very cheap alternative treatment and it opens the opportunity of access to care to a variety of different groups of the population who might benefit for treatments for cavities,” said Fontana.

The kids get treatments every few months, for eight months total. Every time Skye visited, she got a treat of her own -- a goody bag of toys. A sort of a silver lining, to her silver treatment.

SDF costs about $20, compared to hundreds for a traditional filling. It’s covered by some insurance plans.

SDF was approved to treat sensitivity in 2014, but not cavities.

Besides Michigan, the study is taking place in Iowa and New York and will last through 2024. So far, close to 600 kids have participated. The researchers are hoping for a total of 1,200.

Contributor(s) to this news report include: Hillary Rubin, Producer; Kenneth LaPlace, Videographer and Roque Correa, Editor.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

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