Silver Diamine Fluoride is a product that has been shown to actually arrest (stop the progression) of carious lesions (cavities) by killing the bacteria partially responsible for them in the first place. It is meant for clinically obvious (easily seen) areas and is not specifically designed to be able to reach cavities located in between a child's teeth. Upon application, it forms a solid, impermeable layer where the active cavity used to be. The down side is that the overall reaction will turn the cavity-affected area black (see picture). This product does not in fact restore the tooth to previous form or function, but does provide a potential alternative to surgical intervention, especially in very young children that may require sedation dentistry.
Application of Silver diamine fluoride requires the ability to keep the area to be treated very dry. Therefore, some patient cooperation is still required. However, there is no need for tooth removal or local anesthesia (numbness). The product is painted onto the affected area(s) for as long as possible up to one minute and then again in 4-6 weeks. So long as the affected area remains hard and black in color, the cavity is considered arrested, or stopped. Future restoration with a white filling or crown is available at any time once the child is able to receive such treatment in an office setting.