Air abrasion is a relatively new decay removal and tooth preparation tool that we often use in place of the traditional dental drill. Air abrasion is quieter, faster, and more comfortable than traditional drilling. Besides its use in fillings, air abrasion can also be used to remove surface stains from teeth. We offer air abrasion in Virginia Beach, in place of traditional drilling, whenever possible.

How does air abrasion work?

Air abrasion applies the principle of kinetic energy to bombard the tooth area with a high-pressure stream of tiny particles. These are made of a harmless substance, such as aluminum oxide, silica (sand), or baking soda. As the particles bounce off the tooth’s surface, they work much like a sandblaster to remove decayed or stained tooth tissue. At the same time, the particles are being suctioned away from the tooth, so they don’t build up and there’s minimal inhalation of particles into the lungs.

To protect other tissues from the particles, a rubber dam is used over the teeth that aren’t being treated, and eye protection is worn by both the patient and the dentist. Although air abrasion may take slightly longer than traditional drilling, the process is still a quick one, and the benefits of this process are worth it. Air abrasion is a popular choice for children, as well as adults.

What are the benefits of air abrasion?

This innovative system allows us to conserve more of the patient’s natural tooth structure when removing a cavity. Because decayed tooth tissue is softer than healthy tooth tissue, the stream of particles preferentially removes the damaged tissue, leaving behind most of the healthy enamel. The more natural tooth structure remains, the better the chances that the tooth will continue to function long-term.

Air abrasion also reduces the risk of damage to the tooth’s natural structure, such as micro-fractures and chipping, which can occur with a traditional drill. Because this unintended damage to the tooth is believed by many dentists to be a reason why many fillings fail and need to be replaced, fillings done with air abrasion may last longer than those done with traditional drilling. Additionally, composite resin (the tooth-colored material used to fill the hole left after a cavity is removed) bonds more strongly to tooth tissue prepared by air abrasion than to tooth tissue prepared in other ways. This could make the filling more secure.

Because the equipment does not produce vibration or heat, air abrasion is more comfortable than traditional drilling. With air abrasion, most patients require little or no anesthetic. However, we still offer local anesthesia to patients who would prefer it, to ensure that they’re as comfortable as possible.

Dentist in Virginia Beach

If you would like to find a dentist who offers air abrasion in Virginia Beach, then Dr. Mary Lewis would be a great choice for you. She offers general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry services, and has received extra training in several procedures, including the placement of dental implants. Moreover, her patients notice how patient and kind she is, and appreciate her taking the time to listen to them and answer their questions. She’s a top dentist in Virginia Beach. To book your appointment to see Dr. Lewis, please call our office.

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