Needle-free tooth decay removal? Is this possible? Yes, a new technique called air abrasion allows us to remove cavity without even touching the teeth in less time than by using a drill and also without the need to administer an anesthetic.
How Does Air Abrasion Work?
Air abrasion works essentially by blowing a mixture of aluminum oxide, silica, or a baking soda using compressed air or gas through very fine tips. When the powder stream hits the surface of the teeth, it literally puffs away the decayed surface it is pointed at in a remarkably gentle but efficient manner.
Is It Safe?
Yes. Air abrasion works like a mini sandblaster that produces no vibration and no heat from friction. The technology can't harm soft mouth tissue and it operates very quietly. The only precautions patients need for air abrasion are protective eye wear (to prevent eye irritation) and a rubber dam that is applied to nearby teeth and gums to protect the rest of the mouth that is not being treated.
What are the benefits?
Air abrasion cuts tooth surfaces with great precision and removes less tooth material than the drill, thus reducing the risk of enamel micro fracturing and preserving more of your tooth. Patients also like the near absence of noise, and the total absence of vibration. There is minimal heat generation as the teeth cannot get hot. Air abrasion often does not require an anesthetic. Air abrasion also allows dentists to treat multiple sites in the patient's mouth during a single visit with the help of a relatively simple and quick procedure.
Are there disadvantages?
Air abrasion is not always painless, the air can cause sensitivity. Air abrasion is not for deep cavities, it's best suited for removing small, early cavities. Amalgam or silver fillings can not be used after air abrasion, only composite filling materials can, because they adheres well to the smooth surface left by the air abrasion.
What else is air abrasion good for?
Due to its quiet operation air abrasion is especially helpful in treating young patients who would normally be afraid of the dentists drill. Besides removing decay, air abrasion works well in procedures ranging from repairing chipped, fractured or worn teeth, preparing a teeth surface for bonding or sealants, preparing teeth for cosmetic surgery, removing stains and tooth discolorations, repairing broken crowns and bridges and repairing old fillings and sealants.
Air abrasion is the best choice for children and others who are fearful of the drill and have minimal decay.