Air abrasion is a drill-less technique that involves an instrument used to blast away small areas of early onset tooth decay, as well as help dentists perform other dental procedures. It is recommended for children or other patients who are fearful of traditional drilling. Air abrasion can only be used if you have minimal decay.
How Air Abrasion Works
A fine stream of particles, such as silica, aluminum oxide, or baking soda, is directed at the stained or decayed portion of the tooth. The particles are propelled by compressed air or gas that runs through the air abrasion instrument. As this steady and powerful stream is directed at the tooth, particles of decay on its surface are blasted away. As the particles detach from the tooth, they are quickly suctioned through a tube.
Air Abrasion Advantages
There are a few advantages to using air abrasion over the traditional drilling method, such as:
- No heat, pressure, or vibration is generated to cause discomfort
- Reduces the need for anesthesia, especially if a cavity is very shallow
- More healthy tissue is saved with this process
- Reduces the risk of fracturing or chipping a tooth
Air abrasion can also assist your dentist with other procedures, including:
- Removing old composite restorations
- Preparing a tooth’s surface for bonding or sealants
- Removing surface stains and tooth discoloration