Health Check Kids: New way to treat cavities

There's a new, revolutionary way to treat cavities in children. (WJAR)

There's a new, revolutionary way to treat cavities in children.

It involves no injection or drill and is now available locally at the Samuels Sinclair Dental Center, which is part of Lifespan.

NBC 10 News sat in when 10-year-old Selah Canzano came in for her third and final treatment.

"We can actually treat the cavity by healing it with silver diamine fluoride,” said Dr. Sara DiNardo, a dentist at Rhode Island’s largest and oldest dental center for children and adults with special needs.

Healing a cavity?

"A cavity. It's a bacterial infection and it's localized to a tooth,” said DiNardo. “Traditionally, dentists would need to drill the infection out and place a filling to restore the lost tooth structure."

But that is changing thanks to silver diamine fluoride, marketed as Advantage Arrest. It is FDA-approved to treat sensitive teeth, but now many pediatric dentists are using it on their patients.

"What the silver ions do is they kill the bacteria in the cavity, the infection. The fluoride then comes in to re-mineralize the tooth structure so it's healing the cavity instead of needing to drill the cavity out,” said DiNardo.

Vanessa Chin, who is Canzano's mother, as well as a dental assistant at the center, said she has seen firsthand how it's making a difference.

"All patients are excited to not have to get drilled and have an injection," said Chin.

And she wanted that for her daughter.

"Because we want her to be cavity free while she goes through her braces,” said Chin. “She's starting braces soon."

Patients need to have the topical treatment applied on three different visits. While there are no adverse reactions, DiNardo said "it will turn the cavity a darker color, but if that's a concern later, on we can apply a sealant or a white filling to restore the tooth to its natural color."

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