Air Abrasion for Tooth Decay
At his dental practice, Dr. Danny O’Keefe puts a lot of focus on minimally invasive dental treatments. Minimally invasive dentistry aims to treat dental complications while they are in their earliest stages so that patients can preserve as much of their natural tooth structure as possible. There are several techniques that Dr. O’Keefe uses to maintain the integrity of his patients’ smiles and make dental care safer and more comfortable for all. In regards to tooth decay, Dr. O’Keefe often opts for air abrasion over the traditional dental drill. Air abrasion eliminates damaged tooth enamel for our Jackson, MS, patients so that tooth decay can be effectively treated.
What is Air Abrasion?
Air abrasion is a dental technique that cleans and reshapes a tooth to remove damaged tooth enamel. Air abrasion can be used to prepare a tooth for restorative dentistry treatment, such as the placement of a sealant or dental filling, or it can be performed prior to a cosmetic dentistry treatment, such as dental bonding. Air abrasion can be used as an alternative to a dental drill. Air abrasion works in much the same way as a sandblaster. It relies on a strong stream of air and micro aluminum oxide particles to blast debris from the teeth. The air is sent through a handheld device that can be controlled to only treat specific areas of the teeth. Air abrasion eliminates decay while preserving as much natural tooth structure as possible.
Benefits of Air Abrasion
Dr. O’Keefe opts for air abrasion over a dental drill whenever possible because it is a less invasive form of treatment, and it benefits his patients in multiple ways. Some of the advantages of air abrasion treatment include:
- Maximum tooth preservation: Air abrasion allows for superior precision and control. Whereas a dental drill tends to alter a tooth pretty substantially, air abrasion leaves a lot of the natural tooth structure intact. With air abrasion, Dr. O’Keefe can eliminate tooth decay without compromising a great deal of healthy tooth enamel.
- Minimal discomfort: Most patients find that air abrasion treatment is far more comfortable than treatment with a dental drill. Air abrasion does not vibrate or generate heat like a dental drill does, which allows many patients to undergo air abrasion treatment without any anesthetic.
- Decreased risk of complications: Dental filling treatment is a pretty straightforward procedure, but when a dental drill is used, there is still a small risk of complications. Dental drills use a lot of pressure and do have the potential to chip or crack a tooth, which could shorten the lifespan of a dental restoration. Air abrasion does not place the tooth under any direct pressure, so it is highly unlikely that the tooth would be chipped, fractured, or damaged in any way.
Because of the advantages that air abrasion offers over a dental drill, Dr. O’Keefe opts for this minimally invasive technique whenever it is appropriate. The only cases in which air abrasion may not be suitable is when a patient has a deep dental cavity that was not diagnosed in its earliest stages.
At his dental practice, Dr. Danny O’Keefe strives to provide patients with safe and effective dental treatments that are minimally invasive. If you would like to learn more about air abrasion, or our other minimally invasive dental techniques, contact us at your earliest convenience.