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Drill-Free Dentistry

by Idelle Brand, DDS


Air abrasion is a relatively new decay removal/tooth preparation procedure dentists often use in place of the traditional dental drill. It is an advanced dental technique of treating cavities. It is revolutionizing the way dentists practice and is providing patients with drill-free, needle-free and pain-free dentistry. It also has no noise and no vibrations.

It is useful because it allows dentists to both conserve the patient’s natural tooth structure and reduce the risk of enamel micro-fracturing. When a conventional drill is used, a great deal of heat and fracture lines are created within the tooth. This not only causes pain but also sets the tooth up for inevitable future breakage. With air abrasion, there is no heat and therefore there is minimal pain. Since the equipment does not produce vibration or heat, there is little need for anesthetic. It is also both quieter and faster than using a drill.

Dr. Idelle Brand is a holistic dentist in Manhattan and has been using this micro abrasion system for years. "It not only increases the bond strength of all fillings, but also is excellent at removing the residual layer of toxic mercury inside the tooth from the pre-existing silver fillings. I use it on all patients who replace their amalgams with white composite restorations".

So how does it work? Air abrasion applies the principle of kinetic energy to bombard the tooth area with a high-pressure stream of tiny aluminum oxide particles. As the particles bounce off the tooth’s surface they effectively blast away any existing decay or damaged structure. The particles are propelled toward the tooth surface by compressed air or a gas that runs through the dental handpiece. Small particles of decay, stain, etc., on the tooth surface are removed as the stream of particles strikes them. It works by literally sandblasting the decay away. The remnant particles are then "suctioned" away. As in any dental procedure, protective eyewear and high speed suction is essential.

The process requires only a minute or so per tooth. Considering these factors, it’s easy to see why air abrasion is a popular choice for working with children, as well as adults. While it cannot be used to remove metal fillings or crowns, it is useful in small cavity preparations, fissure sealants, discoloration elimination and bonding procedures.

For more information about air abrasion, check out the website http://www.webmd.com/content/article/66/79601.htm or ask your dentist about this advanced procedure at your next visit.

Dr. Idelle Brand is the director of The Brand Wellness Center, an integrative dental practice in midtown Manhattan. She is a health educator and lecturer on Enlightened DentistryTM, a new paradigm of holistic dental care that encompasses healing of the body, mind and spirit. She can be contacted at 212 947-0073 or through her website www.TheBrandWellnessCenter.com 


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