By now you have heard commercials touting the benefits of “minimally invasive dentistry.” The practice focuses on early intervention and on restoring teeth while preserving the healthy tooth structure. A key feature of this holistic trend involves dentistry with air abrasion.
Air abrasion offers a welcome contrast to the old “drill and fill” method of dentistry. Instead of a drill, dentists use a handheld tool similar to a mini sandblaster. A high-speed stream of compressed air and abrasive powder removes decay and unwanted material with great precision. Practically painless, the procedure aids in cleaning, repair and surface preparation.
Cleaning and Whitening
Air abrasion offers benefits throughout the dental visit, beginning with cleaning. It allows for comfortable and speedy removal of plaque and decay. Some offices even use dentistry with air abrasion to whiten teeth. This gentle, yet effective system removes stains from coffee, tea, medications and other substances that cause discoloration. The polishing also helps prevent future staining.
In addition, using air abrasion for cleaning promotes healthy teeth moving forward. In the first place, it can sometimes expose developing decay even before an x-ray can detect it. Secondly, the use of baking soda as an abrasive helps restore PH balance to the mouth. When used before applying sealants, this increases protection against future decay.
With teeth clean and white, the dentist can move on to tooth repair. Here again, air abrasion offers clear advantages over traditional drilling. Dentists can quickly remove decay without damaging the healthy portion of the tooth. The process leaves the tooth dry, with a surface prepared for composite fillings.
Air abrasion not only removes decay; it also offers a highly effective method for smoothing chipped or cracked teeth. And it provides a safe method for removing and repairing existing composite and porcelain restorations. Teeth incur less damage in the process, and fillings last longer.
When placing fillings or sealants, abrasion roughs up the surface of the tooth to promote optimum adhesion. Likewise, these bonding properties prove important in cosmetic dental applications that involve applying a resin material to repair or reshape teeth. This includes repairing chips, closing gaps between teeth and even making teeth appear longer.
Enhanced bonding also proves particularly beneficial in orthodontics. Ideally, the hardware will remain intact for the entire orthodontic treatment. However, over time, teeth and the attached braces undergo significant wear and tear. Studies show significantly greater retention when the orthodontist treats the teeth with air abrasion before attaching the orthodontic bracket.
Advantages of Dentistry with Air Abrasion
For comfort, appearance and performance, air abrasion offers several key advantages over traditional dental practices. These include:
- More comfort for the patient – Air abrasion causes little to no pain, reducing the need for anesthesia during procedures. This makes the process ideal for children and other pain-averse patients. (Imagine, no needles!) Also, it provides a welcome quiet when compared with the dentist’s drill.
- Less damage to healthy tooth enamel – Air abrasion offers great precision, and it involves no heat or vibration. As a result, there is less chance of fracturing the tooth when removing old fillings. Similarly, dentists can repair porcelain veneers safely.
- Quick – Air abrasion means less time in the dentist chair. Not only is the procedure itself efficient, but with reduced need for anesthesia, dentists can complete procedures in multiple areas of the mouth in a single visit.
Airbrasive can help your practice take a step forward by incorporating dentistry with air abrasion. With nearly seven decades of experience in micro-abrasive blasting, we have provided solutions for dentists and dental labs across the country. From precision nozzles to blasting units and abrasive powders, we have you covered.