Assessment of the Silver Penetration and Distribution in Carious Lesions of Deciduous Teeth Treated with Silver Diamine Fluoride

Yihong Li, Yingyi Liu, Walter J. Psoter, Olivia M. Nguyen, Timothy G. Bromage, Marc A. Walters, Bin Hu, Sasan Rabieh, Fancy C. Kumararaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to determine the effects of 38% silver diamine fluoride (SDF) on carious lesions of human deciduous teeth. Ten extracted deciduous incisors with caries were collected and treated with SDF. After the treatment, the teeth were sectioned through the center of the carious lesion. The extent of sliver precipitation was examined using quantitative backscattered electron scanning electron microscopy (qBSE-SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). The qBSE-SEM images revealed that the silver particles could penetrate through the pellicle complex, along with the rod sheaths into the demineralized enamel rods and the dentinal tubules, and form silver-enriched barriers surrounding the carious lesions at depths up to 2,490.2 μm (mean 744.7 ± 448.7 μm) within the dentinal tubules of the carious lesions, but less likely in the sound enamel. The EDX spectrum analysis revealed that carbon, oxygen, phosphorus, chlorine, silver, and calcium were the main elements detected in the lesions treated with SDF. Additionally, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, zinc, sulfur, and fluorine were detected as the minor elements within the SDF precipitation "zone." The micro-CT analysis further showed that in the deep cavitated lesions, the silver precipitation could be observed in the pulp chamber. These findings provide new evidence defining the SDF mode of action for arresting caries and suggest that the application of a highly concentrated SDF solution on deciduous teeth should be used with caution for various carious lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-440
Number of pages10
JournalCaries research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Deciduous tooth
  • Dentin
  • Early childhood caries
  • Enamel
  • Silver diamine fluoride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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