What is drill less dentistry?
Drill-less dentistry is performing treatments on your teeth without the use of a drill.
Right now that mostly means ‘Air Abrasion’ (sometimes also called microabrasion), which is being offered by some dentists.
What is Air Abrasion and how does it work?
During treatment with air abrasion, your dentist uses an instrument that works like a mini sandblaster. This is used to spray/sandblast away decay, remove old composite materials during stroation as well as remove some discolouration or superficial staining.
During treatment, a very fine stream of particles is aimed at the problem area of the tooth. The particle stream (usually silica or aluminium oxide, may also be a baking soda mixture) is pointed toward the tooth surface and high pressure sprayed using compressed air. As these particles strike the tooth they blast away staining and other surface debris or in the case of damage, any decay. All the abrasive particles and other matter are then removed using suction.
What are the advantages of Air Abrasion?
Compared with drilling, the advantages of Air Abrasion are:
- There is no heat, pressure, or vibration caused by air abrasion.
- In some cases there is no need for anaesthesia to be used during treatment.
- More of the healthy tooth tissue can be preserved as compared to drilling.
- It reduces the risk of fracturing and chipping the tooth during treatment.
- The procedure is relatively simple and it is best suited for removing decay in small cavities on the surface of a tooth.
What are the disadvantages of Air Abrasion?
- It is not necessarily a guaranteed pain free procedure. The high pressure air stream combined with the abrasive particles can cause sensitivity and in some cases even intense pain.
- When used as part of a treatment procedure you may require longer appointments, as it can take longer than drilling.
- In the cases where hard enamel needs to be removed from the tooth, Air abrasion can not be used.
- There are many treatments for which it is unsuitable, such as for the preparation of your teeth for crowns, onlays and inlays. Your dentist will also likely strongly advise against it’s use for deep cavities (those close to the tooth’s pulp).