Micro-Air Abrasion: No Needles? No Drilling? No Kidding!

No needles, no drilling, no pain... no kidding! It’s possible, thanks to micro-air abrasion. Using an airborne stream of micro-fine powder, we can gently and effectively remove tooth decay without the drill, the needle, the noise or the pain. Micro-Air abrasion helps us detect and treat dental decay in its earliest stages. This specialized method of tooth structure removal is considered to be an effective alternative to the standard dental drill.

An air abrasion instrument blows a powerful air stream of tiny, fine aluminum oxide particles out of its tip onto tooth structure. Micro-Air abrasion uses the kinetic energy principle, in which particles bounce off the tooth, gently removing decayed tooth. This technology is most commonly used to prepare various types of cavities to be restored with composites, or "white fillings." Micro-Air abrasion also can be effectively used to repair cracks and discolorations, prepare tooth surfaces for bonding, and perform additional procedures.

What are its advantages?

Micro-Air abrasion procedures are painless, which eliminates the need for an anesthetic injection. These systems produce no vibration and no heat from friction. The technology cannot harm soft mouth tissue and they operate very quietly. Because air abrasion cuts tooth surfaces with the utmost precision, it removes less tooth structure than the drill and it reduces the risk of enamel micro-fracturing. In other words, the advantages are more of your tooth is preserved, there is little or no discomfort, no anesthetic numbness is needed, and treatment time is shorter.

How does the procedure feel?

Air abrasion procedures can leave an accumulation of harmless, dusty particle debris in the patient's mouth, resulting in a gritty feeling that is easily removed by rinsing. Your dentist may require you to wear protective glasses during the procedure, and a rubber dam may be applied inside your mouth an d around the tooth area being treated to serve as a particle barrier. To reduce dust buildup, the dentist or dental assistant may use a vacuum hose or a water spray technique while administering air abrasion.

Is air abrasion suitable for everyone?

Yes. It is an especially good option for children who may be afraid of the needle, and the noise, and vibration of a regular dental drill. However, there are some treatments, like crown and bridge preparation, that still require the use of a dental drill. Air abrasion can't be used as an alternative in every procedure.

Who will provide my air abrasion treatment?

Your general dentist, who has been trained in restorative dentistry techniques, will perform any procedures that use air abrasion technology. Ask your dentist if he or she uses air abrasion equipment and if this technique is right for you.