by Dr Bob Gibbins, Future Dental, Cairns, QLD
I’ve been using air abrasion technology for over 25 years and couldn’t imagine not having an air abrasion unit in my practice.
What’s good about it
Air abrasion simply uses air pressure to drive a fine jet of 27 micron aluminium oxide abrasive powder through a nozzle. It is used to remove hard tooth structure, clean the smear layer off dentine and to remove the hyper-mineralised few microns of enamel. It can also be used to clean out any fixed prosthesis prior to bonding or cementation. I also use it to do small class 1, 2, 3 and 5 filling preps without anaesthesia and to remove old base materials below old fillings.
Other uses include highlighting pulpal floor cracks, opening the cement margin under a provisional Maryland Bridge to ease removal, and producing a chemically clean surface for any bonding or adhesive procedures on any hard dental surfaces.
Air abrasion handpieces are far smaller than high- or low-speed handpieces and allow access in more restricted spaces like distals of last teeth in an arch, and caries undermining a crown or bridge.
The PrepStart units come in an air/powder version and an air/powder/water version which spreads less dust around the room.
What’s not so good
It can be messy and suction lines need to be regularly cleaned as the powder can block them.