The New York Times reported on July 11, 2016 that a noninvasive alternative to dental fillings that could save money, while preventing future decay, has gained increased traction among dentists.
The liquid – Silver Diamine Fluoride, or S.D.F. – can be brushed on certain types of cavities, removing the need for a drill or injection. The article focuses on the benefits for young children, but also highlights that this method could be ideal for nursing home residents.
According to the New York Times, it has been used for decades in Japan, and has been available in the United States, under the brand name Advantage Arrest, for about a year. The Food and Drug Administration cleared the liquid for use as a tooth desensitizer for adults 21 and older. Studies indicate that it can halt the progression of cavities and prevent them, so dentists are increasingly using it off-label for cavities.
The article cited aesthetics as the biggest concern, because S.D.F. blackens the brownish decay on a tooth, so this process may be preferable for teeth that are not visible, such as a back molar. The article stated that though most insurers currently do not cover it, it is still much less expensive than a filling at $25 compared to $151.
The full article is available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/health/silver-diamine-fluoride-dentist-cavities.html?_r=1