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By Ronald L. Schoepflin, D.D.S.
January 24, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: air abrasion  

Does the sound of the dental drill make you nervous? Well, many people react to this important instrument, even in the hands of a highly air abrasionskilled dentist. Fortunately, for some restorative and cosmetic procedures, your Port Orchard dentist, Dr. Ronald Schoepflin, offers a wonderful alternative for tooth preparation. It's called air abrasion, a pain-free, quick and effective way to remove decay, even rough surfaces and more. Learn more here about this innovative technique used at Schoepflin Dental Excellence.

What is air abrasion?

Literally, it's a little sandblaster, operating on the same principal as pressure washers and other construction tools which clean and resurface concrete and stone. Used instead of a high-speed drill, the air abrasion tool delivers tiny particles of aluminum oxide directly to tooth enamel, removing decay, reshaping chips and cracks or getting enamel ready for composite resin bonding.

Fortunately, air abrasion eliminates the noise and vibration associated with many dental procedures, thereby making patients more comfortable and relaxed. Also, most air abrasion procedures require no locally injected anesthesia or other sedation. So, if needles or the idea of oral or inhaled sedative make you wary, air abrasion could be your ideal choice.

How it works

Say, for example, you need a filling repaired with composite resin. To begin the procedure, Dr. Schoepflin installs a rubber dam in your mouth to isolate the tooth and to protect your lips, gums, and tongue. Next, he uses the air abrasion tool to deliver the aluminum oxide particles at high speed, literally blasting away the decayed portions of the tooth. (Air abrasion works well for mild to moderate decay.)

As the dentist works on your tooth, his assistant removes the aluminum oxide particles and other debris with a small vacuum and rinses your mouth. Then, Dr. Schoepflin adds the composite resin to the prepared site, hardening each layer with a curing light.

The Academy of General Dentistry says that air abrasion is gentler on tooth structure, and by using it, your White Plains dentist removes only the decayed portions of the tooth. In essence, this restorative technique is less invasive than traditional measures.

Other uses

Dentists use air abrasion to recontour chips, cracks, and pits in tooth enamel. It effectively treats cavities in their earliest stages and is ideal for children and other patients who experience dental anxiety.

Contact us

Today's innovative tools and techniques make restorative and cosmetic dental treatments easier than ever. Why not ask Dr. Ronald Schoepflin about air abrasion the next time you come to Schoepflin Dental Excellence for a check-up and cleaning? Call today for an appointment: (360) 871-2959.

By Ronald L. Schoepflin, D.D.S.
March 24, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: air abrasion  

For years preparing teeth for fillings or other restorations has required the use of a drill. Although quite effective in removing decayed structure and preparing the tooth for bonding, it usually requires a local anesthetic. That and the noise it generates can be unsettling for many patients.

In recent years, a different type of technique known as “air abrasion” has increased in popularity among dentists. Known also as “particle abrasion,” the technique uses a stream of fine particles to remove decayed tooth structure and is less invasive than the traditional drill. Although the technology has been around since the mid-20th Century, recent developments in suction pumps that remove much of the dust created have made it more practical. It also works well with new natural-looking bonding materials used for tooth structure replacement.

The fine particles — usually an abrasive substance like aluminum oxide — are rapidly discharged through a hand-held instrument using pressurized air aimed at affected tooth areas. Decayed teeth structure is softer than healthier tissue, which allows air abrasion to precisely remove decay while not damaging the other.

Besides removing decay or abrading the tooth for bonding, air abrasion can also be used to minimize stained areas on surface enamel and to clean blood, saliva or temporary cements from tooth surfaces during dental procedures. It’s also useful for smoothing out small defects in enamel or aiding in sealant applications.

It does, however, have a few limitations. It’s not as efficient as the traditional drill with larger cavities or for re-treating sites with metal (amalgam) fillings. Because of the fine texture of the abrasive particles, affected teeth need to be isolated within the mouth using a rubber dam or a silicone sheet. High-volume suction must be continually applied to capture the fine particles before the patient swallows them or it fills the procedure room with a fine cloud of material.

Still, while air abrasion technology is relatively new, it has clear advantages over the traditional drill in many procedures. As advances in the technology continue, air abrasion promises to offer a more comfortable and less invasive experience in dental treatment.

If you would like more information on air or particle abrasion, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.