Dental anxiety keeps a lot of people away from the dentist. Not getting twice-yearly routine dental exams can be bad for your oral health and your overall health in general. Even if you take care of your teeth at home, plaque and tartar can still form in the crevices of your teeth, causing gum disease. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and is a risk factor for heart and lung diseases.
One of things that people with dental anxiety mention disliking the most is the dental drill. There’s just something about the high-pitched whine that sets off the nerves in people. Even if you have a small filling to fix, that drill can make you dread it.
Dr. Walter Hadley of Marineland Dental Care in Kennewick, WA, offers an alternative to the drill that can be used in many cases: Air abrasion. Air abrasion is drill-less technique that acts like a small sandblaster, spraying off decayed portions of a tooth.
About Air Abrasion
Air abrasion technology was introduced in the 1950s as an alternative to needle and drill cavity preparation. Its use faded due to a lack of suitable bonding materials. Today’s air abrasion technology has been honed to make it possible for teeth to be fixed and prepared with precision and little pain and be filled with excellent, strong restorative materials.
Air abrasion dentistry has evolved from being just a way to prepare a tooth for a filling to a way of preserving maximal tooth structure. During air abrasion, a fine stream of particles, sent out by pressurized air, is aimed at the part of the tooth that’s decayed. The stream removes decay on the tooth. Those particles of decay are then suctioned away through a thin tube.
The nozzle of the air abrasion tool is significantly smaller than the smallest drill bur on a traditional dental drill. This accuracy gives you one of the most minimally invasive tools in dentistry. It is especially beneficial in treating children because their teeth are so small,and most of the time anesthetic is not necessary with air abrasion.
Air abrasion is used to:
- Prepare a tooth structure for placing fillings
- Remove small existing restorations
- Prepare teeth for dental bonding
- Repair cracked, chipped, fractured, worn, or discolored teeth
Air Abrasion Safety
Air abrasion is safe. We will have you wear eye wear just as a precaution so none of the spray will get into your eyes. Since there is no vibration with air abrasion and since the nozzle is so small that it allows for great precision, there is less chance for injury to surrounding tissue and teeth.
What Are the Advantages of Air Abrasion?
Air abrasion has many advantages over the traditional drilling method. Advantages include the following:
- There is no heat, pressure, or vibration generated by air abrasion.
- If the cavity you have is shallow, there might not be a need for anesthesia with air abrasion.
- Air abrasion leaves more of the healthy tooth tissue behind.
- With air abrasion, there’s a reduced risk of tooth fracture and chipping. That can affect the lifespan of the filling.
- Combined with early diagnosis, air abrasion allows the dentist to detect decay at the earliest stages.
- The very fine and narrow abrasive stream used with air abrasion can remove just the stain and debris in the nooks and crannies of your teeth.
- Air abrasion is a relatively simple procedure, although it may take longer than traditional drilling.
- Air abrasion generates no heat, noise, pressure, or vibration.
What Are Some Disadvantages of Air Abrasion?
Air abrasion isn’t recommended for deep cavities. It’s best suited for removing small cavities on the outer or chewing surface of teeth. Also if Dr. Hadley needs to remove hard enamel in order to access the decay he might not be able to do it with air abrasion. Once he gets to the decay, however, air abrasion can be used.
Make An Appointment
Does the dental drill keep you from going to the dentist? Dr. Walter Hadley studies technologies like air abrasion so he can make the dental experience a better one for his patients. If you want to know more about air abrasion technology, feel free to ask Dr. Hadley by setting an appointment at Marineland Dental Care today. You can use our online form to contact the office or just give us a call at 509-591-0515 and our staff will take care of the rest.