No Drill Dentistry
Air abrasion is a drill-less technique that is being used by some dentists to remove early, small areas of tooth decay and to perform other procedures. 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 stained or decayed portion of the tooth. These particles are made of silica, aluminum oxide, or a baking soda. 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.
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, pressure, or vibration.
- Air abrasion sometimes reduces the need for anesthesia, particularly if the cavity is shallow.
- Air abrasion leaves more of the healthy tooth tissue behind.
- Air abrasion reduces the risk of fracturing and chipping of the tooth, which some dentists believe can affect the life span of the filling.
- The procedure is relatively simple and may be shorter in length than traditional preparations.
What Other Types of Procedures Are Performed With Air Abrasion?
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 discoloration