DHSV Launches First Australian Study of Silver Diamine Fluoride

Dentistry Today

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Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) will conduct the first Australian study of the use of silver diamine fluoride to stop tooth decay and reduce dental hospitalizations for children. The study will examine 400 children between the ages of 2 and 10 years who have dental caries and who are unable to cope with treatment in the dental clinic due to anxiety or behavior issues.

Many of these children are from vulnerable communities and referred to the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne for surgery under dental general anesthesia. These children will receive SDF treatment twice a year, along with oral health education and encouragement to brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and eat a healthy diet.

“This is a non-invasive and preventive approach that can be provided to communities most in need and is a great alternative to general anesthetic. Even the youngest children will be more cooperative because they learn that dental visits don’t have to be painful,” said Dr. Rana Yawary, pediatric dentist and leader of the study.

Tooth decay is the biggest cause of preventable hospitalizations for children in Australia. About 4,500 children in Victoria under the age of 14 years are hospitalized every year due to dental conditions. Also, more than half of Victorian children ages 3 to 5 years have signs of tooth decay, a figure that is worse for children of healthcare card holders and those from families that don’t speak English.

The researchers will treat and monitor the children over a year to study how the approach impacts dental cavities. They also will measure oral health-related quality of life as well as treatment satisfaction and acceptance. These results will be compared to children who are referred to hospitals for treatment under general anesthesia.

“If the trial is successful, it will change the way we manage tooth decay in young children and reduce oral health inequity for those that are most in need,” Yawary said.

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