Gentle Cavity Solutions: No-Drill Dentistry for Happy Little Smiles

Taking children to the dentist can be a challenging and often stressful experience for both parents and kids. However, dental care is necessary to protect their developing teeth, whether for routine dental checkups, preventive treatments like fissure sealants and fluoride application, or cavity filling. If you’ve just noticed signs of dental caries on your kid’s teeth and are worried about what’s coming next, we’re here to present you with a gentle and effective solution – no drill dentistry. Quick and non-invasive, the treatment is kid-friendly and ideal for anxious and fidgety children. Interested? Read on to learn how it works and can help children with tooth decay. 

What is No Drill Dentistry?

No drill dentistry is the preventive approach to treating cavities in children. It’s specifically designed for children, helping protect their tooth structure and halting tooth decay before it can spread to other milk or permanent teeth.

No drill dentistry involves applying a special medication called Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) on the decayed tooth. SDF contains silver, which kills the bacteria causing tooth decay and stops the cavity from getting bigger. The medication also has fluoride, which helps strengthen the tooth. This ensures that the tooth is protected and any risk of the spread of tooth decay has been halted. 

Here’s how the process works:

  • Our dentist will first clean the area, covering the surrounding gums with cotton to prevent staining and gum irritation.
  • The area will be dried, and the liquid SDF solution will be applied to the decayed tooth with a small brush or applicator and given a few seconds to dry.
  • If there is a physical cavity or a hole, we may fill it or cover it with a small silver crown. 

After application, the tooth will change colour, turning black. This is because the silver ions in the SDF solution react with the decayed areas of the tooth, forming a dark-colored silver, killing the bacteria and stopping the progression of tooth decay. If the tooth decay is severe, your child might need multiple applications to kill all the bacteria effectively. Reapplication after six to twelve months may be required for best results. The milk tooth eventually falls out, allowing healthy permanent teeth to erupt while protecting the surrounding teeth. 

Benefits of No Drill Dentistry for Children

No drill dentistry combines the advantages of protection, preservation and strengthening in one quick procedure. This ensures that the healthy teeth which have yet to grow or are in the process of erupting are not at risk of catching tooth decay. By age 4, most children have 20 primary teeth, with the permanent teeth starting to grow at 6 and the last baby teeth(canines and molars) falling out between 9 and 12. Leaving the decay can risk both the remaining milk and the new teeth coming out. Additionally, prematurely extracting a milk tooth can affect alignment, potentially increasing the risk of orthodontic problems. No drill dentistry presents a safe and effective way to stop decay and preserve healthy teeth.

Some benefits of no-drill dentistry for children include:

  • No-drill dentistry preserves the natural tooth structure as much as possible, minimising the need for drilling and reducing discomfort and anxiety in children.
  • It’s painless and non-invasive, making it an ideal treatment for children who struggle to sit still, especially those who are anxious or fidgety.
  • The no-drill procedure is quick and efficient, requiring less chair time and fewer appointments.
  • It’s more cost effective than traditional drilling procedures, saving families money on dental expenses.
  • Multiple cavities can be treated in one procedure without the need to drill, which can be very difficult for young children and requires conscious sedation or anaesthesia.


Can No-Drill Dentistry Be Used for Adults?

No-drill dentistry can be used for adults but is mostly commonly recommended for children as it provides a temporary solution. Moreover, the darkening of the permanent tooth can affect aesthetics, and the solution has to be topped up every 6 to 12 months, depending on the severity of the decay.  There are some specific instances that no drill dentistry may be more appropriate for adults than the traditional drill and fill methods.  These include, tooth decay on back teeth on smooth surfaces of the teeth that can easily be brushed, tooth decay on root surfaces of back teeth and rampant tooth decay caused by recreational drug use. 

Keeping Young Smiles Healthy for Life

As a family dental clinic, we promote preventive care with regular dental checkups, cleanings and oral hygiene guidance. We aim to instil positive dental experiences in children from a young age, guiding parents and children on the correct brushing techniques, dietary habits and consistent oral hygiene practices. Our treatments are specifically tailored to children’s needs, helping build a stable foundation of oral health from a young age. Our silver crowns are aptly named ‘princess crown’ or ‘superman tooth’ so children feel encouraged and motivated to care for their teeth. They love how sparkly and shiny the crowns are, and our friendly dentists ensure your little ones feel safe and cared for in an environment that’s friendly and welcoming. 

Cavities, if left untreated, can cause pain, discomfort and difficulty chewing. They can spread to the remaining teeth, impacting your kid’s oral health and necessitating uncomfortable drill and fill procedures. While the first objective should always be preventive care with daily brushing, dental checkups, and a healthy diet, tooth decay in children is still alarmingly high. In such situations, no drill dentistry offers a solution to protect their teeth without extensive procedures or a potential extraction, thus keeping their little smiles healthy and paving the way for improved oral health. If you notice black or brown spots on your kids’ teeth or they complain about tooth sensitivity or sharp pain, bring them in for a consultation with our friendly dentists for gentle dental care tailored to their needs.