Chapter: The Pros and Cons
Because air abrasion procedures are virtually painless, anesthetic injections are generally unnecessary. Also, no vibrations or heat from friction are produced by air abrasion systems, which are quiet and will not harm soft mouth tissue. Because air abrasion dissolves tooth structure very precisely, the process removes less of your tooth than a drill does; in addition, the risk for breaking the enamel is reduced. During teeth cleanings, a dentist sometimes can spot a shallow cavity and fill it the same day using air abrasion techniques, restoring your tooth with natural-looking materials that strengthen and protect it. Additionally, treatment time is usually shorter than with procedures involving a drill.
Air abrasion is not always totally painless. The air and the abrasives used can cause sensitivity in some teeth. It is well-suited for removing small cavities that form on the surface of teeth, but is not recommended for deep cavities (those close to your tooth's pulp). Only composite filling materials can be used following air abrasion because these materials adhere well to the smooth surface created by the process. For silver fillings, a dentist must use a drill to prepare your tooth in order to prevent the filling from falling out.
Reviewed: January 2012