Air Abrasion

Historically, decay was removed from teeth using steel burs that simultaneously cut a preparation design into the tooth while removing the decay. In the time of silver amalgam fillings, this hole was necessarily deeper and wider than the area of decay in order to mechanically lock in the filling material. As the resin filling materials began to pave the way to more conservative preparation designs, relying on bonding to tooth structure rather than locking in, bur designs also allowed for more conservation of tooth structure. Now that decay can be detected before it makes it through the armor-plated enamel, or just as it goes through, more conservative preparation techniques have been realized. Among these, I offer Air Abrasion technology. Air Abrasion is what I term a combination powerwasher/sandblaster that fires a micro stream of silicate powder at the tooth, effectively abrading or obliterating the decay while minimizing the amount of tooth structure destroyed. When utilizing Air Abrasion, local anesthetic is not necessary, as the most intense stimuli can be a sense of cold air that can be easily tolerated. In this way, bonded resin fillings or teeth requiring sealants when the decay has not yet perforated the enamel, can be accomplished with an ease and comfort in timely fashion without the "fat numb lip" for hours after the effect.