• What Is Air Abrasion?

    What is air abrasion?

    Air abrasion is a technique some dentists use to remove tooth decay. It is referred to as one of the drill-less techniques that dentists use for patients with aversions to traditional drills.

    The air abrasion tool works like a tiny sandblaster that sprays away decay in the tooth. Air abrasion is comprised of a stream of fine particles make up of aluminium oxide, silica and baking soda, which hits the surface of the tooth using compressed air to propel the mixture. The decay particles are then suctioned through a thin tube and out of the mouth.

    Air abrasion is a safe way to remove tooth decay from teeth. Certain precautions need to be taken including wearing protective goggles to prevent irritation to the eye from the spray and the use of a protective resin applied to the gums and teeth to protect other areas of the mouth that aren’t being targeted by the spray. The particles removed from the teeth by air abrasion have to be suctioned to prevent them from being inhaled into the lungs.

    The advantages of air abrasion are that it doesn’t generate any heat, vibration or pressure to the mouth and it can also reduce the need of anaesthetic. Air abrasion also leaves more of the tooth tissue behind as compared to drilling and it reduces the risk of chipping or fracturing the tooth that is being worked on by the dentist. The drawbacks include it taking longer than using a traditional drill, it is not necessarily pain free since the air can trigger sensitivity in the mouth and it is not recommended for cavities close to the tooth’s pulp (deep cavities).

    Air abrasion is a great tool but a traditional drill still needs to be used for removing hard enamel and it can’t be used for preparing teeth for onlays, inlays or crowns.

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