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New way to treat cavities is quick, painless


By: Kerry Cavanaugh,

A new way to treat cavities that’s quick and painless could be perfect for kids who can’t sit for a filling, and it’s saving families hundreds of dollars.

Anniyah James was all smiles as she settled into the dental chair. Her dentist sealed the 3-year-old’s cavity in 30 seconds without a needle or a drill.

The silver bullet for Anniyah is called silver diamine fluoride, a topical product that seals cavities and stops them from growing.

“The silver kills the germs that are in the tooth and the fluoride helps re-mineralize the tooth so that the tooth structure is no longer soft in decay, it’s hard,” Brill said.

Brill said the only downside is that the treatment turns the cavity darker, but Anniyah’s mom said that’s better than the alternative, putting her 3-year-old under general anesthesia to get a filling.

“I would say this is the best way to go,” said Anniyah’s mother, Vanessa James. “You might have a little dark spot, but at least you stop the cavity before it gets worse.”

Brill said a tiny bottle of silver diamine fluoride costs $120, but he can get 60 treatments out of it, so he said the out-of-pocket costs for most patients is nominal, but he adds that Medicaid and several other insurance companies will cover it.

Heather Powell saved hundreds of dollars and a lot of anguish by using silver diamine fluoride to treat eight cavities in her son, Elijah.

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