Minimally Invasive Preventive Dentistry™

What is Air-Abrasive Micro-Dentistry?

Air abrasion is a drill-less technique invented by Dr. Rainey that is used  to remove tooth decay and for other applications. The technology is trademarked by Dr. Rainey under Air-Abrasive Micro-DentistryTM It generally allows for the removal of decay without anesthetic on the microscopic level, preserving the surrounding healthy tooth structure.

How Does Air Abrasion Work?

An instrument that works like a mini sandblaster is used to spray away decay. During air abrasion, a fine stream of particles is aimed at the decayed portion of the tooth. These particles are made of silica, aluminum oxide, or a baking soda mixture and are propelled toward the tooth surface by compressed air or a gas that runs through the dental handpiece. Small particles of decay on the tooth surface are removed as the stream of particles strikes them. The particles of decay are then "suctioned" away.

Is Air Abrasion Safe?

Yes. The only precautions needed before air abrasion are protective eye wear (to prevent eye irritation from the spray) or protective resin applied to nearby teeth and gums to protect areas of the mouth that aren't being treated.

What Are the Advantages of Air Abrasion?
Compared with the traditional drilling method, the advantages of air abrasion are many and include the following:

  • Combined with early diagnosis, Air-Abrasion allows the dentist to detect decay at the earliest stages and restore teeth with a minimum loss of healthy tooth structure.  Dr. Rainey's procedures, as published in the peer reviewed literature, are so effective that he places a limited, professional lifetime (his professional lifetime) warranty on the restorations he places in permanent, posterior teeth that erupt under his care. (Go to "Articles", Click "Minimally Invasive Dentistry")
  • Air abrasion generates no heat, sound, pressure or vibration.
  • Air abrasion reduces the need for anesthesia, particularly if the cavity is shallow.
  • Air abrasion leaves much more of the healthy tooth tissue behind.
  • Air abrasion leaves the working area relatively dry, which is an advantage during the placement of composite fillings.
  • Air abrasion reduces the risk of microfracturing and chipping of the tooth, which some experts believe can lead to premature restorative failures.
  • Air abrasion allows the dentist to treat multiple sites in the mouth during a single visit.
  • The procedure is relatively simple and quick. 
  • Tooth colored Composite and Glass Ionomer filling materials can be used following air abrasion because these materials "bond" or  adhere well to the smooth surface created by the air abrasion (amalgam or silver fillings require drill-based cuts to prevent the filling from falling out).
  • We have  worked on several thousands of teeth on several hundreds of children without the need for anesthesia, avoiding creating the usual phobias and fear of dentistry that comes with shots and drilling that are often unnecessary.
  • Every year Air-Abrasion and our minimally invasive tehcniques enable us to successfully intervene as parents bring to us their children who have been diagnosed as needing general ansesthesia. Most shots and certainly  general anesthesia is unneeded, in our popinion and experience, if the dentist understands and can apply "Minimally Invasive Dentistry" techniques.

What Are the Disadvantages?

  • Air abrasion is not necessarily totally painless. The air can cause sensitivity and so can the abrasives used when  deep cavities (those close to the tooth's pulp) are encountered. Regardless, it is suited for identifying and removing decay that form early on the surface of teeth or in assisting in identifying and removing deep decay in all procedures.  

Who Are the Best Candidates for Air Abrasion Procedures?

  • Anybody with teeth in need for repair can benefit from the benefits of Air-Abrasion.
  • Air abrasion is ideal for use in children, and when combined with other gentle techniques, Air-Abrasion helps to avoid creating "fear of the dentist" commonly associated with the giving of shots in the mouth.
  • Anyone wanting to avoid the indiscriminate destruction associated with traditional "drill, fill, and bill" dentistry.

What Other Types of Procedures Are Performed With Air Abrasion?
Air abrasion can also be used to:

  • Remove some old composite restorations, but not metallic restorations such as silver amalgam fillings
  • Prepare a tooth surface for bonding or "Super Sealants" For more information on sealants, go to "Articles", and click on "Sealants.
  • Prepare a tooth for "Double Bonds". For more information, go to "Articles" and click on "Minimally Invasive Dentistry"
  • Remove superficial stains and tooth discolorations

For more detailed information, Go to Home, and click the "Articles" button. 

  • For information on "Super Sealants" click on "Sealants"
  • Click on "Minimally Invasive Dentistry" for information on more complex restorations.