For many people, the idea of a visit to the dentist is tied in to the sound and feeling of the dental drill. To some, that’s not a big deal – it’s just an innocuous little tool used to help keep your teeth clean and free of decay. To others, though, that sound and that tool can be a source of some real fear and anxiety – so much so that it prevents them from seeking the regular dental treatment that they require to maintain oral health.
Cadena Family Dentistry is proud to say that we offer air abrasion technology, not just for people who have an aversion to the traditional drill tool – but as an alternative choice for several procedures where its use is appropriate.
Air abrasion is a drill-free method used to remove tooth decay or to reshape the tooth among other uses. Think of an air abrasion tool as a very tiny, very specialized little sandblaster for your teeth. During the process, a fine stream of particles – usually silica or a baking soda mixture – is propelled via compressed air through the hand piece and onto the tooth. This stream can be used to effectively trim away bits of the tooth, usually areas of decay.
Air abrasion does require a small bit of extra preparation as compared to traditional drilling – for example, we will need to wear eye protection to prevent the small particles from getting into our eyes. Also, we will need to surround the tooth with a rubber dam or use some other sort of protective device on the surrounding teeth and gums. Any particles or debris created in the air abrasion process are pulled away throughout the process.
As mentioned before, air abrasion is appropriate in a number of situations – but not all of them. For example, if you are getting a filling put in. Air abrasion is a wonderful choice if the filling is going to be a composite filling relatively near the surface of the tooth. However, since it creates very smooth edges, there is nothing for amalgam fillings to grip onto so that they can bond to the tooth. Amalgam fillings need the scours and scuffs of drill-based cutting to grip into in order to stay put and not fall out. Also, deep cavities are best treated using drills.
Air abrasion has several benefits, however. For one, it is essentially silent. That drilling sound that makes so many people uneasy doesn’t happen with the air abrasion technique. Secondly, if the cavity being treated is shallow – you may not need any pain medication at all using air abrasion. Since it is such a precise technique, air abrasion tends to leave behind more healthy tooth material than drilling does and reduces the chances of cracks and chips down the line.
If you think air abrasion might be the right choice for you and your dental needs, we would be happy to consult with you and come up with a treatment plan. Please contact the office to make your appointment and congratulations on taking steps towards the right type of dentistry for you!