Air abrasion also called ﾔmicroabrasionﾔ and kinetic cavity preparation is a method of tooth structure removal considered to be an effective alternative to the standard dental drill. This new technique allows dentists to remove decay from teeth without even touching them in less time than by using a drill and also without the need to administer an anesthetic.
Air abrasion works by blowing a stream of powerful dry clean air mixed with minute abrasive particles of aluminum oxide onto the surface of the teeth. Air abrasion uses the kinetic energy principle in which particles bounce off the tooth and blasts the decay away.
This mixture of air and aluminum oxide particles can generally be used in two ways. The first way is as a cleaner to remove any stains or decay from teeth so that a sealant can be applied for tooth bonding. Alternatively it can be used to expose hidden cavities which can then be removed and a filling added. Limitations of air abrasion however mean that the use air abrasion to remove decay between teeth or to prepare a tooth for a large filling a crown or a silver amalgam filling is not feasible.
Air abrasion procedures are virtually painless eliminating the need for an anesthetic injection. Air abrasion systems produce no vibration and no heat from friction. The technology can't harm soft mouth tissue and they operate very quietly. Because air abrasion cuts tooth surfaces with great precision it removes less tooth material than the drill and it reduces the risk of enamel micro fracturing preserving more of your tooth. Added advantages of this treatment include little or no discomfort no anesthetic numbness as no anesthetic is needed and treatment time is usually shorter.
Air abrasion procedures can leave an accumulation of harmless dusty particle debris in the patient's mouth resulting in a grainy feeling that is easily eradicated by washing your mouth with clean water. To reduce dust buildup the dentist or dental assistant may use a vacuum hose or a water spray technique while administering air abrasion.
One of air abrasions best features is that due to its quiet operation it 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 teeth for cosmetic surgery removing stains and spots repairing old fillings and sealants and repairing broken crowns and bridges.