Micro Air Abrasion is a fairly new technique in dentistry that can be used to remove stains and discoloration on teeth, treat initial decay, remove old fillings, and prepare the surfaces of teeth.
The air abrasion system is a great advancement in dentistry that offers a number of advantages. The first air abrasion unit Airdent was released in 1951. We all know how patients are bothered by the loud sounds of drills and the unpleasant feeling. Thanks to this technique all of that is gone. It delivers a minimally invasive treatment that is well accepted by most of the treated patients. It uses very small particles that are aimed towards the surface of the tooth. It is all done with a special instrument that looks like a very small sandblaster. It creates a spray that releases all the necessary ingredients. The spray is made of aluminum oxide particles and air. Once it’s pointed to the decayed area of the tooth it removes the damaged tissue. It can also be used to remove discoloration from the surfaces.
The main indication is patients who are scared of the drill and kids. If the air abrasion is used to remove caries, the lesion has to me initially. This technique is not meant for deep decays. Dentists commonly use it to remove stains and discoloration, leaving the teeth bright and shiny. Air abrasion can remove composite fillings, and prepare the teeth for sealants. Multiple teeth can be treated in one session. In most cases, there is no need for anesthesia.
There are several advantages of micro air abrasion compared to the conventional dental procedures. Although it is not indicated for every single procedure and patient, it provides great results when it actually is indicated. Patients tolerate this way of cleaning and removing small decays much better than the classic drill. There is no bad noise, almost no pressure, and no vibrations. In most of the cases, the pain is minimal, or there is only a slight discomfort. Therefore, there is no need for anesthesia. The air abrasion technique doesn’t create any heat and the process is much faster. Another great advantage is the fact that it saves dental tissue, in other words, only removes the decayed part of the tooth. This is not guaranteed with the conventional preparation. In the end, the tooth is dry and ready for a filling.
The limited indications are the biggest disadvantage of air abrasion. Another thing is that patients can’t expect a completely pain-free procedure. In most cases, there is only a slight pain, but there are patients which complain from sensitivity. This is still less compared to conventional preparation. Only initial caries lesions can be treated with micro air abrasion. Unfortunately, all of the deeper cavities, especially the ones close to the pulp are not an indication for this procedure. Cavities located on the approximal surfaces of teeth are also not considered. It is meant to remove only very small decays that are at an early stage. They are hard to detect sometimes, that is why patients are supposed to visit the dentist for a regular check-up every six months. Another thing that most people don’t know that if the enamel has to be removed during the procedure, that still has to be done with a drill. Air abrasion only works on decayed dentin, and it is not used on enamel. It is used to remove only composite fillings, but no amalgam ones, nor prepare for onlays, inlays or crowns.