‘Game changer’: Brush-on liquid allows Tucson kids to avoid anguish of dental drill

Five-year-old Ivanna Chavez has a cavity and she is terrified.

The small, bespectacled girl shrinks behind her mother as they walk into the El Rio Community Health Center exam room, where pediatric dental resident Dr. Aaron Duffy is waiting, holding what looks like a tiny, doll-sized paintbrush.

In less than the five minutes it takes for Duffy to tell Ivanna to “sit still like a statue” and to recount his favorite characters from the Disney movie “Moana,” he has painted a drop of a solution called silver diamine fluoride onto Ivanna’s cavity, which is on one of her bottom teeth. Then it’s time for Ivanna to get princess stickers and go home.

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