One of the things some people dislike about going to the dentist is the idea of, the feel of, and / or the sound of the drill. For most of us, that's a sound synonymous with the dentist's office and for some; it's a source of dental anxiety. Air abrasion technology means that this doesn't have to be the case. Instead of using a drill to remove tooth decay or cavities, air abrasion uses instead a tool that works like a mini sandblaster. The instrument is designed to spray a fine stream of particles, made of silica, aluminum oxide, or a baking soda mixture, at the decay.
The tiny abrasive particles (.002” or less in diameter) remove only minute amounts of tooth structure, making a drill seem coarse by comparison. The air pressure, flow rate, nozzle diameter, and other settings on the instrument can be accurately controlled to produce the precise amount of abrasion needed. The result is a minimally-invasive method of removing decayed or unwanted tooth material. The most exciting thing for patients is that air abrasion is painless and, in some cases, doesn't require an anesthetic.
Air abrasion leaves behind a gritty feeling in your mouth, which is simply rinsed away almost instantaneously using a small suction device. Tiny cracks and imperfections on a tooth can be fixed using air abrasion. Although air abrasion is not suitable for work on crowns and bridges, it is often used for bonding procedures, and on tooth restorations involving composite, or tooth-colored fillings.