Air abrasion is a drill-less technique that is being used by Drs. Campbell and Schmidt to remove tooth decay and for other applications.
How Does Air Abrasion Work?
During air abrasion, an instrument that works like a mini sandblaster is used to spray away decay. During air abrasion, a fine stream of particles is aimed at the decayed portion of the tooth. These particles are made of silica, aluminum oxide, or a baking soda mixture and are propelled toward the tooth surface by compressed air or a gas that runs through the dental hand piece. Small particles of decay on the tooth surface are removed as the stream of particles strikes them. The particles of decay are then “suctioned” away.
Is Air Abrasion Safe?
Yes, air abrasion is safe. The only precautions needed before air abrasion are protective eye wear (to prevent eye irritation from the spray) and the possible use of a rubber dam (a rubber sheet that fits around teeth)
What Are the Advantages of Air Abrasion?
Compared with the traditional drilling method, the advantages of air abrasion are many and include the following:
- Air abrasion generates no heat, sound, pressure, or vibration.
- Air abrasion reduces the need for anesthesia, particularly if the cavity is shallow.
- Air abrasion leaves much more of the healthy tooth tissue behind.
- Air abrasion leaves the working area relatively dry, which is an advantage during the placement of composite fillings.
- Air abrasion reduces the risk of microfracturing and chipping of the tooth, which some experts believe can lead to premature restorative failures.
- Air abrasion allows the dentist to treat multiple sites in the mouth during a single visit.
- The procedure is relatively simple and quick.
Who Are the Best Candidates for Air Abrasion Procedures?
Air abrasion is ideal for use in children and others who are fearful and have minimal decay.
What is Air Abrasion Used for?
Air abrasion can also be used to:
- Remove some old composite restorations, but not metallic restorations such as silver amalgam fillings
- Prepare a tooth surface for bonding or sealants
- Remove superficial stains and tooth discolorations