Air abrassion is a method of working on a tooth (preparing a tooth) that does not use a dental handpiece (aka the drill). You might have heard a recent ADA radio ad talking about air abrasion. It is “drilless” because it uses a hig pressure stream of air blasted particles to remove tooth structure. It is also advertised to be able to be used without anesthesia (no needles). Sound Great! BUT, it can’t be used to remove old fillings (metal or resin), it can’t be used near the gum, it can’t be used to prepare crowns (bridges or onlays) and it can’t be used for larger fillings. When a cavity (caused by decay) is small it can be treated without anesthetic whether or not an air abrasion is used.
At Martin Dentistry we don’t utilize air abrasion because it is rather limited in its use. In dentistry despite good records, xrays and exams there can be more damage to a tooth than was apparent. If you were told that no handpiece or anesthetic was going to be used and then they had to be you might be upset. We strive to find decay before there is pain or symptoms so that it can be treated quickly and effectively. The technology of air abrasion has been widely available in dentistry for over 20 years. Its limitations make it a less than popular alternative.