Objective: To compare the effectiveness of annual topical application of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) solution, semi-annual topical application of SDF solution, and annual application of a flowable high fluoride-releasing glass ionomer in arresting active dentine caries in primary teeth.
Methods: A total of 212 children, aged 3-4 years, were randomly allocated to one of three groups for treatment of carious dentine cavities in their primary teeth: Gp1-annual application of SDF, Gp2-semi-annual application of SDF, and Gp3-annual application of glass ionomer. Follow-up examinations were carried out every six months to assess whether the treated caries lesions had become arrested.
Results: After 24 months, 181 (85%) children remained in the study. The caries arrest rates were 79%, 91% and 82% for Gp1, Gp2 and Gp3, respectively (p=0.007). In the logistic regression model using GEE to adjust for clustering effect, higher caries arrest rates were found in lesions treated in Gp2 (OR=2.98, p=0.007), those in anterior teeth (OR=5.55, p<0.001), and those in buccal/lingual smooth surfaces (OR=15.6, p=0.004).
Conclusion: Annual application of either SDF solution or high fluoride-releasing glass ionomer can arrest active dentine caries. Increasing the frequency of application to every 6 months can increase the caries arrest rate of SDF application.
Clinical significance: Arrest of active dentine caries in primary teeth by topical application of SDF solution can be enhanced by increasing the frequency of application from annually to every 6 months, whereas annual paint-on of a flowable glass ionomer can also arrest active dentine caries and may provide a more aesthetic outcome.
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