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Dr. Na Xu
Healthy Smiles Family Dental

2601 25th St., Suite 400
Salem, OR 97302

P: (503) 385-1185
F: (503) 339-1981

What is Air Abrasion?

Posted on 9/25/2015 by Na Xu
A woman about to receive an air abrasion treatment from her dentist.If you have minor tooth decay that is caught very early, the good news is that a drill might not even be needed to fill the area. A new technique called air abrasion, or drill-less dentistry, is becoming more and more popular. This method of taking care of decay and sometimes even old composite bonding is minimally invasive and painless, making it a great option for children and even adults that may be fearful of noisy drills.

How it Works
The decay in your tooth is sprayed or blasted away rather than drilled with air abrasion. The abrasive materials are made of silica or aluminum oxide and are sprayed at a forceful rate at the area that needs treatment. They are sprayed with a large force of compressed air, which forces the particles in your tooth out. Once the area is clear, your mouth is cleaned with the dental suction so that all particles that were sprayed out are then removed from your mouth.

The Benefits of Air Abrasion

There are many benefits of air abrasion, including the fact that there is no drill, which is a hands-down benefit for many people that have dental phobias. In addition, however, there are other benefits that are good for your overall dental health. Because the tooth is not being drilled, there is more enamel left behind, which gives your tooth more strength to withstand more pressure and be able to stay in your mouth for many more years to come rather than forcing you to deal with a root canal and dental crown or a tooth replacement all together. There is less of a risk of any other damage occurring to the enamel of the tooth as well - as sometimes with the dental drill, the tooth can become chipped, requiring even more filling material to strengthen the tooth.

When can Air Abrasion not be Used?

Of course, there are situations where we are unable to use air abrasion. They are strictly reserved for those situations where the decay is minimal and has not reached the pulp of the tooth. If this were the case, a standard drill and anesthesia would be necessary in order to ensure the health of your tooth as well as your overall comfort. If the decay is in the top part of your enamel, you will not feel it as there are not any nerves at that part of the tooth. If it reaches down to the pulp, however, that is where the pain and tooth sensitivity occurs, which could mean a lot of pain for you if no anesthesia were to be used. In these cases, the drill is necessary to ensure that all decay on the inside and out is removed and that your tooth is properly filled in order to ensure its longevity.

Air abrasion is a great alternative for those that have issues with coming to the dentist as it allows them to have their dental decay fixed early on without requiring invasive procedures. If you are concerned about dental decay and its subsequent treatment, it is best to come in early so that this procedure can be an option for you. The longer that you wait, the deeper the decay becomes and the more invasive the treatment. Staying up to date with your regular cleanings and checkups can allow you to have this procedure done and to ensure the overall health of your mouth for many years to come.

If you are concerned about filling your dental decay, please call us for an appointment today to see if you are a good candidate for air abrasion!

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