Until recently, the traditional dental handpiece was the only tool we had to remove decay from your teeth. But now we have a new option that allows us to remove decay on teeth without even touching them! This new technology is called air abrasion.
Air abrasion is a process in which a special handpiece removes decay by blowing a stream of clean dry air mixed with tiny abrasive particles onto the surface of the teeth. The particles gently remove any stains or decay so that we can apply a sealant, or they can be used to expose hidden cavities, which we can then remove and restore with a filling material.
We typically use air abrasion to remove small amounts of tooth decay. It's often a great option because:
it produces no vibration and no heat; because of this, it requires no anesthetic (which means no injection).
* The process is quiet, so it minimizes fear and anxiety.
Air abrasion is also particularly helpful for investigating decay in children's back teeth. Before we can diagnose a cavity, we often need to evaluate the extent of the decay using air abrasion. The procedure can gently expose hidden cavities, which we then can remove and fill. However, we won't be able to use air abrasion if your child has asthma, since the fine particles can cause wheezing and coughing in some patients. But for most patients, air abrasion is a wonderful new technology that allows us to provide comfortable treatment for early forms of tooth decay.