Air Abrasion – Dental Work Without The Drilling!

air abrasion dentalDrilling is unpleasant. The sounds, the smells, and the general discomfort. It really makes you want to put off your visits. So, what if there was a way to receive dental care but without that scary drill? In this article we are going to talk about a dental drill- which may interest you called Air Abrasion. We’ll go a little into its development, its applications, and advise you on what you need to know if you would like to take advantage of this drill-less dentistry option for yourself. Without further ado, let’s talk about Air Abrasion!

What is air abrasion in dentistry?

Air Abrasion is a technique designed to function similar to a drill for patients who are uncomfortable with an actual drill. The way that this technology works is this. Tiny aluminum oxide particles are manipulated by a strong, focused application of air so that they may be directed at your tooth. This abrades the surface, providing an alternative to drilling when it comes to cleaning out decay. This technique may also be used to prepare a tooth for fillings, however, that is not it’s only potential use in dentistry.

Wait, a dentist can do a filling without drilling?

Air Abrasion - Dental Work Without The Drilling
ivanovgood / Pixabay

Yes, indeed. With Air Abrasion this is possible and much more! For instance, Air Abrasion can perform the following functions:

  • Stain removal – Much a sandblaster for your teeth, Air Abrasion can be used to lightly remove stains by employing a lower pressure setting.
  • Correct some enamel defects – Enamel defects may be corrected through Air Abrasion with minimal loss of your natural tooth material, as the abrasion level may be controlled with more delicacy than when employing a drill.
  • Remove composite resin fillings – Air Abrasion may be used to remove a composite filling, for instance in the case of shrinkage.
  • Detect hidden dental issues – When used on a light setting and in conjunction with special dyes, dental issues which are harder to see with the naked eye may be discovered and dealt with before they become bigger issues.

Why do dentists spray air on my teeth while drilling? Is this Air Abrasion?

Actually, no. Air Abrasion requires more specialized equipment and involves aluminum oxide, so you will definitely notice the difference. The air sprayed during a drilling session is common for dental procedures. Typically your dentist sprays water on an area and then uses the air to quickly dry your tooth so that the state of it may be assessed.

Air Abrasion sounds great! Are there any downsides?

Every technology has it’s downsides and Air Abrasion is no different. While it is an excellent alternative to drilling for those who really dread that part of the dental visit, there are some considerations to keep in mind if you decide to use Air Abrasion for your next filling. The disadvantages of this medium are as follows:

  • A drill might still be necessary in some cases – If hard enamel needs to be removed in order to perform your dental procedure then Air Abrasion may not be utilized for that portion. This is a limitation and in a case like this, a drill would still need to be used to get past the hard enamel before the Air Abrasion might be employed.
  • There may be some discomfort – While it is not a drill which is being used, Air Abrasion may be uncomfortable to some due to the nature of its functions. The device is blowing metal particles on your teeth and as such, the taste will be a bit odd and some people find that it makes their teeth very sensitive during the whole procedure.
  • Limited to smaller cavities – Air Abrasion is only used on smaller cavities. Larger cavities that go down to the pulp or the root are not suitable for this technique, as you do not want to apply metal particles directly to flesh, only to the tooth.
  • Not good for crowns, inlays, or onlays – Air Abrasion mostly going to be an alternative to drills when it comes to getting a filling done. Preparation for crowns, for instance, requires a more significant ‘shaving’ of a tooth, and as such for crowns or other procedures like inlays, or onlays then preparation would still need to be done with a drill.

 “In some cases the dentist may apply a protective resin. “

Is Air Abrasion a safe procedure?

Yes, Air Abrasion is safe. Your doctor will put a dental dam in place before your procedure and you will also need to wear goggles to protect your eyes. In some cases the dentist may apply a protective resin to your teeth and gums in order to ensure a completely safe procedure. A small vacuum is also employed to remove the particles via suction so that you don’t have to worry about getting any in your lungs.

Air Abrasion - Dental Work Without The Drilling

Does dental insurance cover me if I would like to try Air Abrasion?

Plans vary quite a bit between dental insurance providers and as such, you will want to check with your specific provider in order to determine if Air Abrasion is included within their coverage. If not, check with your dentist. Most dentists offer payment plans, for instance, and if your dentist does not, then there are also a number of medical finance companies out there who are looking for your business and may be able to assist you in obtaining Air Abrasion for your next filling.

In conclusion

In this article we have explored the finer points of Air Abrasion. If you dislike the drill and would like an alternative then check to see if your dentist offers Air Abrasion. Keep in mind that while some people may have sensitivity issues with this medium, generally most people get along quite well with technology to the point that it is spreading to dental offices around the world. Just try to go in it without any expectations and we’re sure that you’ll find that you aren’t missing that old drill in the slightest!

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