As with many other professions, a dentist is only as good as the tools and materials at hand. From the indispensable mouth mirror to the anxiety-inducing dental drill, from the laboratory to the pharmacy, dentists are at no shortage of tools and materials to help them help their patients. But this does not mean people are not working behind the scene to create better implements.
What happens to a dental industry that is racing to elevate the profession, wishing to conquer its most trying obstacles with a mix of science and engineering? It creates a silver fluoride bullet.
One of the greatest concerns among both dentist and patients — frankly one of the reasons dentistry exists in the first place — is every person’s tendency to contract dental caries. Ceaseless reminders to avoid sweets, brush daily and visit the dentist are simply not enough to protect the population from getting their chompers into trouble, and silver diamine fluoride is here to correct the tooth; not its owner.
Dentists from monkmoordental.co.uk attest to silver diamine fluoride’s effectiveness as a topical medicament, citing its exceptional ability to arrest decay in a quick, painless, non-invasive way. They note that since the substance’s fluoride content is twice that of the typical varnish, patients with severe recession and root caries have a significantly better chance of retaining their teeth long enough for a true restorative treatment to take place.
Unlike other topical medicaments, silver diamine fluoride allows dentists to control any pain and infection with less trauma. It takes seconds to apply with no need for sedation or local anaesthesia. Most important of all, the silver bullet’s cost effectiveness, as every bottle dispenses 250 drops of solution, with each drop enough to cover five surfaces.
Of course, silver diamine fluoride has its own contraindications, the most overt of which is that it triggers allergies to silver. Dentists should also avoid using it on patients with ulcerative gingivitis and stomatitis.
The full extent of silver diamine fluoride’s applications, or even the possibility of an even better substance, is still unknown. Still, it stands as one of the dental industry’s greatest creations to date.