Background: The use of silver-formulation as microbicide to arrest dentinal caries is gaining popularity. The primary objective of the present appraisal was to systematically review the clinical (in vivo) applications and antimicrobial potential of silver-containing formulations in arresting dentinal caries. Our secondary aim was to sum up the available in vitro applications of silver-containing formulations against cariogenic microbes isolated from dentine lesions. Methods: Ovid MEDLINE, EBSCO host, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases was searched between January 2009-May 2019. Results: In vivo: We observed conflicting evidence of antimicrobial efficacy of SDF on a diverse array of microbial taxa present in carious dentine of primary and permanent teeth. Moreover, there is insufficient evidence on the application of AgNP-fluoride as an effective microbicidal against cariogens of dentine lesions. In vitro: We found a good evidence of microbicidal efficacy of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) on selective cariogenic microbes in human dentine model. Additionally, a good evidence was noted of in vitro application of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) as a useful microbicidal against S. mutans adhesion, growth and subsequent biofilm formation in human dentine models. Conclusions: Taken together, in vitro evidence indicates the promising antimicrobial potential of silver-based formulations (SDF and nanosilver) against the predominant cariogenic flora, particularly from dentine lesions. Post-treatment clinical data of either the bactericidal and bacteriostatic effects of SDF or nanosilver are sparse. Furthermore, the current understanding of the specific size, concentration, antimicrobial mechanisms, and toxicological aspects of nano-silver compounds is inadequate to draw firm conclusions on their clinical utility.
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