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Air Abrasion

Air abrasion is a new micro-dentistry technique that is used to treat tooth decay and prepare teeth for restorations.  Traditionally, dentists used noisy dental drills to remove decay and prepare the teeth for fillings, but air abrasion has proven to be a noiseless, heatless, minimally invasive alternative.  Air abrasion is similar to sandblasting, in that tiny particles are propelled toward small areas of decay to remove them.  A filling is then applied to seal the tooth from further harm.

An anesthetic is not usually required for this procedure, which means the dentist can treat multiple teeth in a single appointment.  The goal of air abrasion is to pinpoint and remove early areas of decay, while preserving more of the natural tooth.  The combination of air abrasion and composite resin fillings quickly and comfortably restores functionality and strength to the teeth.

Here are some of the main advantages associated with air abrasion:

  • More of the natural tooth is left untouched.
  • No need for anesthesia in most cases.
  • No vibrations, horrible noises or excessive pressure.
  • Quicker, easier procedures.
  • Reduced risk of further damage to the teeth (chipping and fractures).
  • Teeth are left dry, which is advantageous for filling placement.

Who can benefit from air abrasion?

As with many dental procedures, air abrasion is not necessarily suitable for every person.  The best candidates for air abrasion are patients who are fearful of the dental drill, children, and individuals with minimal dental decay.  Regular dental check ups help diagnose cavities which may be forming on the surfaces of the teeth.  Spotting cavities early increases the chances that the air abrasion treatment can be utilized.

Air abrasion can be used in instances other than tooth decay, including the removal of existing composite fillings, the preparation of teeth for sealants and the removal of surface stains on teeth.  Amalgam and silver fillings cannot be used in conjunction with air abrasion because the procedure leaves the teeth too smooth for metal fillings to properly adhere.  Therefore, only composite fillings can be applied following air abrasion.

What is involved with the air abrasion procedure?

Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the teeth and assess whether the air abrasion technique is going to be the most effective option.  Once this has been decided, the procedure can be scheduled.

First, rubber dams and cotton balls will be used to segregate the teeth and ensure the adjacent teeth are not affected.  Under specialized lighting and magnification, the teeth will be sprayed with particles including aluminum oxide, and silica.  Jets of compressed air delivered through a dental hand-piece, provide enough force for the particles to remove the decay.  The waste will be eliminated from the mouth with a suction device.

The dentist will use a special red chemical dye to ensure that all traces of decay are gone.  An acid solution will then be applied to the affected areas to roughen the surface enough for the filling to be placed successfully.  The composite filling will be hardened using specialized lights, then polished to make it look completely natural.

If you have questions about the air abrasion process, please ask your dentist.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

Thank you for giving me the best dental visit experience I have ever had in my entire life!

From the time I walked in to the office and the time I walked out, it was first class! Actually, that is an understatement.

This was my first appointment and I had my teeth cleaned, fluoride application, x-rays, and a test for oral cancer as I did smoke in the past. It was with great relief that not only did I pass the oral cancer test, but my teeth and gums received an A+ from Jennifer, the girl who cleaned my teeth.
The x-rays were very comfortable in my mouth. Lightweight and with digital imagery.

The office even has a flat tv screen by my chair with remote in case I wanted to watch tv while getting my teeth cleaned.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is instead of dreading my next dental visit, I am actually looking forward to it!

Tricia Kelly

I wanted to take a moment and share the treatment that my FAMILY has received from Emerald Coast Dentistry. We have been treated with exceptional professionalism, kindness and competency for every dental need we have required. From a son who started his dental requirements at 5 years old; filled with fear, to a father and mother with challenging schedules. Emerald Coast Dentistry has taken the time to truely get to know the invidual needs of our family and actually exceeds expectations for every visit. How often do you hear those words from a long term customer. Imagine, exceeding expectations for over 5 years under challenging circumstances. As a family, we feel very fortunate to be patients of Dr. Erin Sutton and her exceptional staff!

Sincerely, Scott, Beth, and Eric Brubaker

This was my first visit to Emerald Coast Dentistry and I was treated like one of the family. Doctors Sutton and Hills were extremely nice and patient with me and seemed concerned about my past dental problems. They never seemed to be in a hurry and I felt very confident in their treatment and proposed dental plan. I am very thankful I found them.

Margie Hughes

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