Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Drill-less Dentistry : Air Abrasion
Air abrasion is a drill-less technique that is being used by some dentists to remove tooth decay and for other applications.An air abrasion instrument works like a mini sandblaster. During air abrasion, a fine stream of particles (made of silica, aluminum oxide, or a baking soda mixture) is aimed at the decayed portion of the tooth. 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. Air abrasion is mostly suitable for shallow cavities that are still in an early stage of decay.
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.
But Air Abrasion has a few Disadvantages:
* Air abrasion is not necessarily totally painless. The air can cause sensitivity and so can the abrasives used.
* Air abrasion is not recommended for deep cavities (those close to the tooth's pulp). It is best suited for removing small cavities that form early on the surface of teeth.
* Only composite filling material can be used following air abrasion because it adheres well to the smooth surface created by the air abrasion (amalgam or silver fillings require drill-based cuts to prevent the filling from falling out).
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
Air abrasion is ideal for use in children and others who are fearful and have minimal decay.They seem to be the best candidates for drill less procedures.