With well-established antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, silver nitrate from an applicator or pencil is applied topically usually in aqueous solution and used as a haemostatic, for pain relief in certain conditions and for the removal of small quantities of unwanted tissue.

Avoca Silver Nitrate Caustic Applicators and Silver Nitrate Caustic Pencils are widely used throughout the world by physicians, surgeons, nurses, midwives, podiatrists, dentists, general practitioners and veterinary surgeons. Uses include nongenital warts and verrucas, granulation tissue, wound healing, stoma maintenance, umbilical stumps, cautery, anterior epistaxis, vasomotor rhinitis, post-bioptic cervical nicks, skin tags and pain relief for aphthous stomatitis.

For difficult to reach places, for example ear nose and throat cavities, an Avoca Silver Nitrate Caustic Applicator can be bent to give easier access. Moulded at high temperatures, an Avoca Silver Nitrate Caustic Applicator is hygienic and will not splinter in contrast to wooden sticks.

Avoca Silver Nitrate Caustic Applicators and Silver Nitrate Caustic Pencils are simple to use, effective and economical. Instructions for using applicators and pencils are the same.

Once dissolved in either body fluid or clean tap water (distilled, deionised and purified water can be used but are not necessary if tap water is clean and does not have a high salt content) silver nitrate is absorbed by epidermal tissue to a very shallow depth where it alters the pH of the environment of protein molecules causing them to die.

The causative process linking silver nitrate to cell death is not clearly understood. A study at the Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri in 2010 suggests a possible contribution of BK channel inhibition to the cytotoxicity of Ag(+) in humans and other species (Molecular pharmacology, {Mol-Pharmacol}, Nov 2010 (epub: 20 Aug 2010), vol. 78, no. 5, p. 952-60, ISSN: 1521-0111).

The shallow penetration characteristic of silver nitrate makes for relatively safe and easy application. For this reason, it is suitable for patient self-management for some conditions like warts and verrucas.

This method of cell destruction is thought to apply to all living tissue including viruses and known pathogens. On unbroken skin it is painless. The action can be stopped by adding saline solution. However, completed action cannot be reversed. For this reason, silver nitrate must not come into contact with tissue that does not regenerate such as eyes.